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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Elevensies

A post about second breakfast? No not exactly...but the title was so cute that I decided to use it anyway. Mr. Baby is 11 months old today. Yes, I said eleven!

***please forgive the quality of the photos in this post, they're cell phone images***

He's getting big. Starting to communicate. Thinking about climbing. Becoming very mobile. Soon he won't even be a baby anymore. *sigh*

But it's good too--life is good, if extremely hectic! I took some time a few days ago to read back through some of the posts I wrote when we got THE CALL about him and it still made me cry. How far we have come since this time last year. This spring has me showing all the amazing sights and sounds of the world to my son, while last spring had me questioning life in general. Wow. But enough about that...here are the goods about the boy and what he's been up to this past month:

He's a master crawler now and has quickly turned that into proficient cruising too. He also does a funny little thing where he crawls with one leg up, especially on hard-surface floors. You can see it for a second or two in the (goofy) video below, which was created at the beginning of March.

video

He's beginning to get big, he weighs exactly 20 pounds and is 28.5 inches long...time for a new car seat! I am continuously amazed by his communication abilities and what he's saying, trying to say, or understanding.

He consistently says:
  • hi,
  • mama
  • dada
  • yum-yum
  • bye
  • ball
  • light
  • grrrrr (or growling)
and he's been actively practicing:
  • baby
  • dog/Ditto/Dinah
  • good
  • bottle
He also understands so many things even though he hasn't started saying them yet:
  • Names for other important people in his life
  • waving
  • give me five or fist bump
  • Kiss/give me a kiss
  • where did it go/where are you going
  • come here
  • go get it
  • glasses
  • give it to me/can I have it (usually when he has my glasses)
  • don't eat it
  • gentle
  • are you hungry/want a bite
  • cup/want a drink
  • cold/hot
  • water/splash/bath
  • yes/no (he shakes his head back and forth every time I nod mine)
  • home
  • window/outside
  • sky
  • bird
  • book
  • look (and he points now too, at books or in the grocery store, SO cute)
  • brown bear-brown bear animals (he will usually point to the correct ones on his blanket or in the book)
  • moo
  • duck
  • dance/skate
  • song/sing
  • eye
  • nose
  • ear
  • teeth
  • tongue
  • hands
  • socks/feet
  • our "stinky feet" game where he touches his nose to his own feet (cute) or our feet (even cuter) and then makes the same sour face he makes for food he doesn't like.
He's doing great and he never ceases to amaze me with his new abilities and what he can comprehend! Every day is such a joy and it seems there are things I could add to the "What Charlie Knows" list all the time. He now has two new top teeth, which have come in at different rates but still make him look completely adorable. I think this is a big part of the reason he's started experimenting with so many new sounds/words lately...his mouth now feels different so he can try new things.

His experiences with food continue to go really well. He's pretty much eating what we eat now, although I still enjoy making him veggie and fruit purees that I freeze. He's learned how to start telling us what he thinks now with his sour face and yuck face. The really funny thing is when he makes the sour face with a food that clearly isn't at all sour. He's figured out that we think he's cute when he makes those faces so he performs for us. :) He's definitely an independent boy when it comes to food. Depending on his mood, he sometimes won't even try a new food unless he can feed it to himself. He's also beginning to master his sippy cups, which is so cute to me since they still look so big in his little hands.

Bottle time is still very much a special bonding ritual for us and that's the one time when he's perfectly content to relax and let me take over. I cherish these moments even more now because I know they are limited. With the days flying by so quickly, sometimes I just want to stop the clock and hold my baby boy a little while longer.

I can hardly believe there is only one more month before this amazing little child turns ONE.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grrrrr

I so love this boy!!

video


Post-it Note Tuesday #1


I've generally avoided these specific day of the week blog post ideas because I'm unsure that I can commit to posting every Monday...or whatever. This one is cute though and it seems so easy that I decided to give it a try for a while.

Check out the directions on Supah Mommy's blog and create your own sticky notes here. Fun times!





Monday, March 15, 2010

Eclectic Mom

Every once in a while, I think there are aspects of me as a mom that other people find surprising. Not long ago, a friend told me she was surprised that there was some "Ann Arbor mom" in me. If you live in this general area, or know anything about the city of Ann Arbor (home to the University of Michigan) then that comment will make some sort of sense to you. Ann Arbor moms are often pretentious (sorry but it's true) and are also known for being trendy and on the cutting edge of what's up and coming in the world of baby gear and baby care.

I agree with my friend--none of those characteristics accurately describe me. However, it is surprising yet true that I have chosen to do things with Charlie that definitely fit me into the label. Things like cloth diapering with Bum Genius diapers, making my own baby food and wearing my baby when and where ever possible.

About a week ago, a fellow blogger, Jen posted a great entry on her blog about how she's adapting to being the mom she wants to be. Her post got me thinking and I've been meaning to write this post all week but instead it's been rattling around in my head as I've sped through my days. In my comment to Jen I called myself an "eclectic mom" and that's exactly what I am. I wholeheartedly agree with her that it's best to break free from any of the various "parenting camps" and just go with the combination of your heart, head and gut when it comes to the question of how to parent.

I guess (at least in part) I'm able to do this because I am educated when it comes to early childhood development, theories, and practices. That background gives me comfort that I know what I'm doing even though I'm pretty sure I'd know what I was doing with my baby even if I didn't have the jargon to accompany my knowledge. To me, being an eclectic mom is all about one magical little word, balance. Among other things, it's about the equilibrium between being:
  • laid back and rigid
  • natural and convenient/practical
  • knowledgeable and open to new ideas
  • child focused and career oriented
But none of that is to say that I've got it all down. I'm nowhere near having all the pieces of the puzzle in place! I guess that's the whole point of this post though...that I try my best to lead with my instincts and to use my knowledge of my son's unique needs and personality to decide how to raise him, rather than steadfastly sticking to one way or method of parenting. In this way, I'm able to get the best of all the different schools of thought out there, and I'm able to stay centered on my baby's unique needs and abilities instead of fitting him into some standard measure or expectation of the things he "should" be doing.

With the seemingly endless plethora of parenting advice/opinion books and information out there, you can find at least one book that supports just about any parenting technique you want to try. And as I mentioned in this post, way back when Charlie was a tiny little thing, it can be absolutely maddening (especially to an overwhelmed new mom) how two books from two equally qualified "experts" will completely contradict one another. That's why, to me, it's essential to lead with the heart first, closely followed by the head.

One of my favorite professors used to say, "Ask Ten, Get Ten" as his reminder that opinions are exactly that, unique thoughts that can vary drastically from one person to another. That saying holds true with parenting too. If you have an issue on your mind, you can ask ten different people what they think and you are practically guaranteed to get ten different answers. That's both refreshing and infuriating!

As a mom, I honestly think one of the hardest things is the decision making...the weeding through all the information and resources to get to the bottom of what's really best for baby or what's really worth worrying about versus what should be left alone. The weight of that responsibility, that knowledge that another person's life is entirely dependent upon my decisions and my actions. Well I have to say that I'm so very thankful I have an amazing husband with whom I can discuss big decisions. I like being able to find out what he thinks and weigh my own ideas against his before I have to decide for sure. I like that our parenting decisions are (at least for the most part) a combination of his gut feelings and mine. I like that I have a partner in this consuming yet overwhelmingly joyful experience of raising a child. I am comforted by the knowledge that I don't have to do this all alone.

Whew, that was quite a lengthy and loaded post! I definitely rambled a bit more than I originally intended but it surely does feel good to have a place to purge all these thoughts and share my ideas. As always, I can't wait to hear what you all have to say in response! :)





Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baby Wearing

In this wonderful new climate of "attachment parenting," baby wearing parents are everywhere. I too have done my fair share of strapping my baby to my body so I can go about my day without sacrificing my bonding time with the boy. From the time he was tiny, my preference has been to wear him as much as possible. Of course I've always made sure he has ample amounts of floor/free play time too. I'm really talking about wearing him in lieu of leaving him in his car seat or pushing him in the stroller.

When I look back over the past ten months, I see a gentle progression in terms of the various slings and wraps I've tried. Each has had its own unique features and benefits but there is so much to choose from out there that I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences:

1. Infantimo Slingrider - This is the first sling I tried simply because it's the first sling I bought. Charlie was still tiny and I went to T.arget to see what they had. At the time, this was affordable and seemed handy, I honestly hadn't done a lot of research. I talked a little about my favorite features of the bag-style sling in this post. One of the comments from that post pointed out some potential concerns about this type of baby carrier; however, I will say that we still got a lot of use out of this item and I didn't feel overly concerned. I really liked the fact that Charlie was right there with me and I could easily look down and see him. He was instantly comforted when I put him in the carrier, I think because he could hear my heart beating and feel me breathing. I also liked the fact that he was concealed from nosy people out in public. At the time I was more sensitive to prying eyes and this put me back in control. I could easily go shopping or to a restaurant without having to deal with everyone wanting to touch my baby. We even took C. to a couple of movies in this carrier!

2. Baby Bjorn - Up until last week (see Ergo below) this was my favorite carrier. I would have recommended it to anyone! I actually still love the bjorn but I have found that it's getting harder and harder to carry Charlie as he gets bigger, despite the fact that we haven't reached the weight limit yet. Plus this carrier is less versatile in terms of how you can carry the baby and therefore what types of activities you can perform. Having said that, baby bjorn is one product where you absolutely get what you pay for. The carrier is extremely secure and well made. When I was initially comparison shopping I couldn't understand why the bjorn was twice the price of other seemingly comparable carriers. Then I tried it on. The criss-cross design of the straps across the back really help to distribute the baby's weight evenly. It was more than worth the extra cost given how much more comfortable it was for both me and Charlie. I also like the fact that the baby can be worn either facing out or facing in.

3. Maya Wrap (homemade) - A good friend sent me this hand-made version of the commercially available wrap. While it is beautiful and stylish, it's the wrap with which I've had the least success, hence no picture of it in use. I've used it a few times, once even to walk around the block but I still feel like I need to keep my hand on Charlie while he's in the carrier, which pretty much defeats the purpose of using a sling.






4. Ergo - Last but not least, my new favorite! I've had my eye on this carrier ever since I met a woman with four kids under four at the grocery store several months ago. She stopped to talk to Charlie and we struck up a conversation. She had one baby in the Ergo carrier on her back, another in her arms and the other two in her cart. The Ergo is not cheap, retailing for around $100; however, it is absolutely worth the investment. It's the most versatile carrier I've found, both in terms of the variety of ways you can carry the baby (front, hip and back) and in terms of weight limit (40+ pounds.) It's called the Ergo because it's ergonomically correct for both baby and adult. This carrier is relatively easy to maneuver, although there is a slight learning curve. I definitely think getting Charlie loaded onto my back is more of a feat that the tutorial videos portray. Having said that, I've only been using the carrier for two days and I'm already getting more comfortable with loading the boy in and out. A few of my other favorite features of this carrier are the side-zippered storage pocket, which for short trips, can eliminate the need for a diaper bag; the snap-on hood attachment (pictured below) that can be used as a sun shade or for when the baby falls asleep; the thick, comfortable padded straps; and finally the fact that the entire carrier is made of cloth and there's no hard wire frame like some of the other higher weight limit carriers I've seen.




All in all, my baby wearing endeavors have been quite successful. Now that I've used the Ergo, I'm wishing it had been with us all along. It will be the new carrier I recommend to anyone who asks and I will most likely use mine exclusively if/when we adopt again.