Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am happy to report...

...that Bear signed his first sign last night! I've been showing him sign language for a few words pretty consistently over the past couple of months and though he smiles when I move his hands to do the correct sign, he's never mimicked me or anything. Last night was different, though! I've been showing him the signs for bath, all done, book, eat, dog, cat, momma and daddy. Which did he choose to do himself first?? It'll make my English professor mama proud--it was BOOK! He loves being read to over and over again, so it makes sense that he would choose book as his first sign. The sign is supposed to be both hands opening like a book and Bear only uses one hand, but it's obvious that he means BOOK! Hopefully this opens the door to a whole new world for the boy and he'll start to understand that communication can happen through different means than just crying!

Also, we did end up seeing Santa yesterday. Bear was confused, I think. He wasn't sure who this guy was and why I backed up real fast after depositing him on said guy's lap (so we could get a picture). He didn't cry, but he did spend a fair amount of time staring at Santa's face. I thought that would make a cute picture, but the picture taking woman waited until he looked our way and sort of half-smiled. The picture we got was free, so it's not the best quality, but I'll try to scan it and see how that comes out. There's also a kind of maniacal looking elf in the background, which I wasn't a big fan of. Bass Pro Shop has a huge aquarium that I thought Bear would be interested in, but he didn't even notice the HUGE catfish inside, because he was too busy staring at the waterfall that fed the tank. Oh well. We had fun.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bear is 10 months old!

I can't believe my boy is ten months old already. Some days seem really slow, but as a whole, his little life has flown by for me! We're really looking forward to the holidays with him. For Thanksgiving, I'm excited about letting him try different foods. I know, I know, but it doesn't take much to excite me these days. He's pretty open to new things, obviously some foods go over better than others. He likes (A LOT) just about any kind of bread I've given him and he seems pretty happy to try any veggie, as long as I mush it up to the exact consistency he desires (a preference that changes daily). Meat is another story...he likes those nasty little meat sticks made for toddlers, so I give them to him sometimes (even though my friends make fun of me). Other meat he's not so interested in. He's also taken a liking to any kind of bean and to cottage cheese lately. I'm glad that he likes both of those, so I don't have to worry about his protein coming from meat.

What I'm most looking forward to for Thanksgiving is my family getting to spend some time with him. My dad and his wife haven't seen him since July and of course, he's changed a ton since then. My dad really misses him--he calls to say hi to us and gets cracked up at Bear making a bunch of noise in the background. My dad's laugh is infectious, so that in turn gets me laughing as well. Plus, all the jabbering Bear does becomes background noise to me and it's nice to have someone point it out and make me remember that it definitely sounds like he's trying to communicate something to us. My brother and brother in law are also coming to visit for Thanksgiving and I'm excited that they get to spend more than just a couple of hours with Bear. I've visited Nashville with Bear twice, and that's the only time my BIL has been able to spend with him, so it should be nice to see them get to interact a little more. My brother has been here once to visit, but Bear was only 2 months old, so he wasn't too exciting yet. He's also seen him on those trips to Nashville, but more time would be great.

I'm not sure who's coming to visit yet, but I think Christmas will be a fun time as well. Even though Bear doesn't have any idea that the actual day of Christmas is different than any other day, we can still get him involved in activities that surround that holiday. For example, I think we are going to visit Santa today! Max and I were trying to guess at Bear's reaction to Santa last night. On the one hand, he could be great! He's really been a little ham lately when it comes to the camera. He grins or at least faces us for a picture. He also likes to pull at beards (my dad, grandpa and brother all have them), so he may think Santa is the best thing ever. On the other hand, he may think we're trying to leave him and cry his little eyes out. We'll just have to see. We're going to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shop, oddly enough, but I've been told they have a really great setup--lots of trains and Christmas lights and a big tree. The Santa was reported to look more authentic than the mall Santa and hopefully the lines will be shorter, too! Hopefully, it will be a good experience. I'll report back soon--with pictures!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Upcoming Thanksgiving

I am so grateful that my dad, my brother and BIL (I think) will be coming to visit us for Thanksgiving. That means we don't have to go anywhere! Bear has been a good traveler for us so far, but traveling with a baby is just stressful to me. The biggest problem is the sleeping--Bear gets all off track and doesn't get good sleep, so it's hard to know how he's going to act during the days. I'm sure if we stayed anywhere for any length of time he'd fall into some sort of pattern, but it would probably have to be for more than a week and it's unlikely that we'd go anywhere for that long. The sleep deal is so fragile, actually, that I sheepishly asked my brother if he'd mind sleeping on an air mattress in our living room so that Bear doesn't have to give up his room. My brother happily obliged, and I am so glad. I really think it will be easier for everyone involved if we keep daily routines as normal as possible for Bear.

I really should be focusing on getting the house ready for visitors rather than blogging, but oh well. I'm even in the room that needs the most work (carpet cleaning), but I've decided to focus on that this weekend. Right now, I'm pretty focused on spending time with my friends. I have two best friends here, both of which I've made through the moms club that I'm part of. One of them is moving away shortly after Thanksgiving, so I'm making it a priority to spend as much time with her as possible before she leaves. I'm so lucky to have 2 good friends! I would be really down in the dumps if I had only bonded with one fellow mom and then she ended up moving. I'm not sure that I'd like living here nearly as much as I do without the moms club and the friendships that have formed out of it. Actually, I know I wouldn't like it as much. The town itself is okay, but I need those friendships to REALLY like it here. As much as I liked the actual town in TX that we lived in before moving here, it doesn't compare to how I feel about living here. And the difference is definitely in the friendships I've made. Even before I had Bear, the job I had here was so much better than the one I had in TX. When we moved from TN to TX, I was excited for something new and when we moved from TX to here, I felt kind of the same way. If we had to move from here right now, though, I would be sad. Part of it is that I really like the house we have here and this is where Bear was born, so I'd like to stay for a bit. However, I have to face reality. We most likely will move at some point in order to keep Max on a good career path. I have no idea when that will be, but I do know that when the time comes, it will be the saddest I've ever been to leave somewhere. Hopefully, we'll get to stay here for at least a few more years!

Something else that's been on my mind: PREGNANCY! Now, I'm not pregnant, but there are several people around me that either are or have recently had a baby or are trying to get pregnant, and it has really gotten me thinking. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Maybe so. Are we ready? Maybe so. We've been talking about it almost every day and how now that Bear is doing certain things (like sleeping thru the night!!), having another baby will be easier now than it would have been a couple of months ago. I do wish he'd start walking before I got to the point in the pregnancy where it will be difficult to lift him, but I feel pretty confident that that will be the case. I remember my back hurting pretty early on though, like even before I got very big, so I need to think about that. Oh well, just random thoughts so I can procrastinate on the cleaning for even longer!

Do I really want to look like this again? Maybe so!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is my hair messed up?

We have ourselves a little Lyle Lovett* in training!

*Just the hair, not the face!!

Mr. Independence

Okay, I think maybe I've FINALLY figured out the eating dilemma with Bear: he is DONE with baby food! I thought he just wanted to feed himself, but that's not true. For example, I made some pasta with broccoli and chicken in it and mashed it up and he let me feed it to him. Also, we went out to eat the other night, and we ordered Bear a side of mashed potatoes and he let me feed him those as well. Apparently, he does like to feed himself, but will still allow me to feed him some things, as long as it's not baby food. I imagine baby food doesn't have much taste compared to the dinners we cook, so it's understandable. I talked about it with some of my mom friends and some of their children did the same thing--just decided they were done one day! One thing I noticed about table food, though: it must fill him up more than baby food did, because he certainly doesn't eat as large of a portion. That's fine, because it's actually quite a bit cheaper this way! If I don't have to buy him separate food and instead just feed him what we eat, we'll be saving some money. Now, what to do with the left over baby food in the cabinet?

Something I don't understand, though, is if he is eating grown up food due to the taste, how can he still down loads of formula?? Man, he loves that stuff! If I even say the word "bottle", he gets all worked up and is ready to drink one RIGHT NOW. The last time we were at the doctor, he told us to switch to whole milk at a year and to start weaning him off of bottles at that point as well. I'm not looking forward to that change at all! Maybe, though, like other changes we've made, it won't be as difficult as I'm anticipating. I certainly hope not. That boy loves his bottle, though!

Speaking of change, Bear has recently stopped needing to be rocked to sleep. We used to sit on the couch at bedtime and either just let him fall asleep in my arms, or if he was having trouble getting to that point, I'd take him in his bedroom and rock him. Now, though, he has a serious wiggling problem. When he's tired, he starts climbing all over me and thrashes around, seemingly not able to get comfortable. Max told me that at nap time last weekend while I was out at a movie with my mom friends that he just laid him in his crib due to the non-stop crying and moving about, so I decided to give it a shot myself. AND IT WORKED!! I tried it at both nap times yesterday and then again at bed time. He cries, because he's not used to being left alone, but in all cases, he has fallen asleep in less than ten minutes. I also, due to my mother in law's suggestion, put a couple toys in his crib that he can play with to calm himself down or at least entertain himself for a few minutes. At least once yesterday, I heard him playing with one of them before a nap and I have found them in various spots in the crib, so I know he's at least playing with them for a few minutes. Hopefully, he'll get to the point where he doesn't cry anymore when I lie him down. That would be heavenly, especially if we are to have another child! That way I can focus on just one baby that needs help getting to sleep.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween pictures and other junk

As promised, here are the Halloween pictures my friend took of Bear and his friends.

Here are the three amigos in front of my front door. No one would smile and Bear would not even look at the camera, but HEY, we got a picture of all three of them.

He smiled, but only once, and it was kind of a fake smile--no teeth!

He was much more interested in eating the mulch by our front door. I grabbed it out of his hands quite a few times before we were done with the photo session.

He liked playing with the pumpkins we got from the pumpkin patch. This would have been a cuter picture if we had remembered to carve our pumpkins!

Bear and I have not been sleeping well at all. When we visited my mom and her husband, I tried to keep him from crying at night and waking the whole house, so he got used to being fed bottles in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, he seems to have outgrown his love for sleeping in the pack n play as well, so he spent at least a few hours in bed with me every night. He has tried rejecting his crib ever since we got back, but I don't like that idea, so I've been forcing the issue and not getting very much sleep myself. Last night was better (6 whole hours!), so maybe we're on the road to sleep recovery.

Also, I wrote in my last post about how Bear had started spitting his food out at me. Yay, I may have figured out the problem! Boo, I don't like the solution all that much! I think Bear wants to feed himself. This would be fine if he were just a little older so he could have the dexterity to actually get a spoon to his mouth. Oh, I let him try, but it's not very successful. Most of the food ends up on the floor, his bib, his face, the high chair tray, his clothes, his hair or on his hands. He really likes foods that he can pick up off his tray and he does a good job at that, but there are only so many foods that I can make into "finger foods" and I worry about his nutritional needs. The oatmeal he used to eat every day is fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals, but so is his formula, so maybe I shouldn't fret. I did get him to eat some oatmeal this morning, but only when he was holding the spoon. If I held it, then by God, it got spit out! Yesterday, for dinner he ate peas and pieces of wheat bread that I scattered on his high chair tray, and that actually worked out pretty well. Most of the peas ended up in his mouth except for the lone few that somehow worked their way into his overalls. It was so funny--they kept falling out when he was crawling around the living room! Anyhow, this is just new for us, so it will take some getting used to and some creativity on my part. I've been scouring the internet for other good finger foods for babies and I've found quite a few that I think Bear would like to try. I don't know what to do with the cabinet full of baby food that we have, but maybe with practice, he'll get better at spoon feeding himself.

This whole food issue reminds me of something that I've wanted to write about for a while now. I did not realize how much Bear would change over this first year! Oh, I knew that he'd go from this tiny little wailing thing to a walking, babbling person, but I didn't realize how much went into that! I like consistency in my life and I like to know what to expect, but Bear has really made me come out of my shell in those two aspects! I never know how many hours of uninterrupted sleep I'll get, I never know which foods he'll accept today, I never know how his mood will be and I am learning that this is OKAY. It's okay if he just wants to be held for most of one afternoon (usually due to teething or illness) and it's okay if I just hold him and don't leave the house. I've been so busy lately, running around even when I don't really want to. It's okay to say no and to skip activities every once in a while. I don't really have any obligations other than to be his mother right now and I'm learning to love that fact. I never know what the day will bring as far as Bear is concerned, but this is exciting and not scary! I love watching him learn and grow!

Oh, just so I don't forget, since this is a supplement to Bear's baby book, about that walrus noise that he imitated night before last...well, last night he made the noise upon just being shown the walrus! Max and I got a big kick out of that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun with Bear

We had lots of fun on Halloween night! My two best friends from the moms club came over with their daughters and we ate dinner and took the kids around the neighborhood in their costumes. Normally, this would be called trick-or-treating, but since none of them can actually say "trick or treat" and none of them can really eat candy, we just took them around to show them off. My neighborhood had lots of kids in costumes running around and it was a really fun night. Unfortunately, my camera battery died, but one of my friends took pics of all three of the kids, so I'll have to post those after she sends them to me. I did get some pictures of him and his friend Kaitlyn taking a bath together that night, though!

Bear has been "talking" more and more. He now says something that sounds an awful lot like "momma", and he tends to say it when I leave the room or when he wants to be picked up by me. Maybe I'm just kidding myself, but it really seems like he's saying it in reference to me. He's been saying "guh" for a while and he sometimes says "buh" and is starting to make a "cuh" sound deep in his throat. Something really interesting happened last night during his bath! He has a toy walrus that we just about always play with during bath time and last night was no exception. I have been holding it up to him and making what I *think* is a walrus sound ever since we received the toy quite a few months ago. Well, last night, he made the sound right after I did! I thought it was a fluke, so I did it twice more and so did he! I had Max get out the video camera and we got some great video of me making walrus noises, but of course, Bear clammed up.

Another fun step Bear seems to have taken involves food. He has been spitting baby food out at me! I don't like this, but I'm not sure how to stop it. I've said a very stern "no" to him and he'll sometimes cry, but he still does it again. The foods that he spits are foods that he's liked up to this point, so I'm not sure what's happening. Max thought that maybe he would do better with thicker foods, so he went out and bought some stage 3 baby food, which can be started at 9 months anyhow. We'll try them today at lunch time and see how that goes. Hopefully better! The good news is, he doesn't seem to be spitting out any of the non-baby food that I give him. For example, last night I made some macaroni with broccoli in it and mushed it up for him. He seemed to love that! We have lots of leftovers, so we'll have to try that again. He also has tried mashed potatoes, pasta salad, bread from a baguette and macaroni and cheese and hasn't spit out any of those. Maybe he's just ready to move on and is trying to tell me.

I also wanted to share some of the 9 month pictures that I took of Bear. He's getting less and less cooperative at these picture taking sessions, but I think it's funny to have some of him trying to wiggle out of the chair or looking out the window instead of at me, so I'm willing to keep doing it!

This is my favorite "nice" one:

Here's an example of how he kept looking out the window:

This is my favorite silly one. Look at those teeth!