Birthday boys

Earlier this month we had a joint birthday party for Theo and Emmett. Since their birthdays are nine days apart it made sense to combine them this year, and we’ll probably do that going forward for as long as they’ll let us. Last year I wasn’t ready to celebrate E’s birthday, so we opted to celebrate the anniversary of his homecoming instead. It was a much happier day for me than his birthday, and we got to do the obligatory cake all over his face experience (since he was only 9 months adjusted on his actual birthday, he wasn’t ready for cake then). We’ll probably still do something special for his gotcha day each year, but this year seemed like a good time to make the transition to celebrating his actual birthday. I think it helped that the day that worked best for our schedules ended up being about a week and a half before his actual birthday, so I was able to compartmentalize a bit. We ended up having a fun pirate-themed party in our back yard (Theo’s choice on the theme), and then on E’s actual birthday I took the day off work and we went back to the NICU to visit (more on that in a separate post).

I still can’t believe we have a five year-old and a two year-old! Theo is turning into this cool little dude who is the epitomy of the boy stereotype — wild and dirty and obsessed with bathroom humor (I’m so tired of hearing the word “poop” 8,000 times per day) — but sensitive and sweet and loving too. And really smart. He can count to (at least) 200 and surprises us with his ability to add and subtract with ease. I think numbers just come easily to him – something he certainly gets from his dad, not me! He’s got strong opinions and doesn’t back down easily or admit when he’s wrong (something he gets from both of us, lord help us). He’s what my dad calls “sometimes wrong but never in doubt.” He doesn’t show much musical or artistic interest, and the jury is still out on sports. I don’t think he’s going to be super athetic, but he may surprise us. He starts kindergarten in the fall, which I’m in complete denial about – but at the same time I’m looking forward to seeing how he flourishes in school. He recently tested as “gifted” in his pre-K assessment.

Emmett is certainly coming into his “terrible twos” phase, complete with GREAT BIG EMOTIONS over every little thing. I can tell he’s going to be my wild child. For as active as Theo is, Emmett takes “active” to a whole new level. He does not sit still, unless he’s in an unfamiliar environment, in which case he clings to me with an impressive tenacity. Actually everything he does is with a surprising amount of strength. For as little as he still is, the kid is strong, and I think he’s going to be very athletic if his lungs and legs don’t hold him back. We’re still waiting on the arrival of his leg braces his OT ordered last month, and while I’m not looking forward to the inconvenience, I’m anxious to get going on helping him. He’s finally starting to talk, and is proving to be quite chatty, repeating everything we say and even stringing together very basic 2-3 word sentences. He’s much more aggressive than Theo ever was at this age and we’re going through a bit of a biting and hitting phase. I know it’s normal developmentally for this age as kids test their boundaries and learn to express themselves, but it’s still disheartening to see. I’m also feeling guilty for judging the parents of the little boy who used to bite Theo at this age, and now understand you can sometimes do everything right but some kids just go through this phase! Hopefully it’s short lived.

With that, some pictures from the boys’ party!

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NICU day 70

Today was mostly good, but ended pretty rough. E got his two-month vaccines this morning and had been having a few more desats all day, but they were all brief and nothing too low — mostly mid-80s and only for a few seconds. Then late this evening, he suddenly started having a ton, along with a few bradys. At one point his oxygen dropped down to 32 percent, which was really scary for me. It’s never gone that low before. His temperature was also 38.2C (100.8F). The nurse wasn’t too worried and said sometimes babies just don’t react well to vaccines and that he’d be better in a couple days. She ordered him some Tylenol for the fever, which should also help with his desatting (he was holding his breath because he’s uncomfortable, which was causing his oxygen to drop). She turned his oxygen up to 1 liter (it had been at 1/64 all day) to give him a boost, and that seemed to help.

He’s now sleeping in my arms and satting at 100 percent, which is higher than it should be, but they don’t want to turn it back down until he proves he’s doing better. It’s after midnight and I’m exhausted, but I’m afraid to put him back down. It’s going to be a long night.

NICU day 47

Today was a good day. D spent the night at the hospital last night and said Emmett had one of the best nights to date. This morning we took Theo to a 4th of July parade, and then I went back to the hospital so I could hold E this afternoon. When I got there, not only was E swaddled in his isolette, but he was wearing clothes! His temperature on his isolette was turned down to 26C, and the nurse gave me the great news that he would be moving to a crib tomorrow! They will also be turning his oxygen down to 1 liter, which is officially low-flow. Lots of great progress.

I didn’t get a lot of time with E today. Just the three hours I held him, and then I left the hospital to meet D and T at our friends’ house for more Fourth festivities. As hard as it was to have so little time with E today, I know he doesn’t consciously miss me while I’m gone, where T definitely does, so it was important to spend this holiday with him. It was good to see friends and we lit off a few fireworks after dark and kept T up WAY past his bedtime. So worth it to see the sheer elation on his face over the fireworks. D went back to the hospital for the night again and I came home with T to tuck him into bed. And then I started a load of laundry, including preemie clothes (!!) since we can start dressing him once he’s in the crib. The hospital will provide us with clothes if we want, but I figure we might as well use some of the preemie clothes we got as gifts since he probably won’t fit in them for long. He gained another 36 grams tonight, bringing him to 3 lbs 15 oz. There’s a very good chance we’ll crack 4 lbs tomorrow!

Baby clothes!

Baby clothes!

 

Cute kids

Cute kids

 

Sparkler fun.

Sparkler fun.

T-man update.

Poor Theo. Usually it’s the second child that gets the shaft, but then E came along and stole all his big brother’s thunder. I hadn’t even gotten thank you cards out for T’s birthday party (and still haven’t!) when E came barrelling into this world three months ahead of schedule. So I thought I’d show my firstborn some love and dedicate this post to him. Because he is kind of amazing.

First, his birthday was a wild success! Since he was originally due on Cinco de Mayo (but was four days late), we’ve made it a tradition to throw a Cinco de Mayo bash for his birthday each year. Though I think this was probably our last year before he forms some serious opinions on the matter and insists on a Transformers-themed party or something. Despite our best intentions of culling the guest list to only friends with kids and making it a smaller affair, we ended up with nearly 60 people, including about 25 kids! Thank goodness we had great weather and could spend most of the time in our large backyard instead of our modest-sized house. We had a bouncy house and a pinata for the kids, and plenty of beer and margaritas for the adults. It was a lot of fun. Like the previous two years, we had a separate, more intimate party for family. Theo had a blast at both parties, though after two parties at home plus one at his school, he actually told me “no more parties.” Kid was partied out.

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Party animals.

On the potty training front, Theo has been out of diapers since January, but still isn’t super reliable about getting to the bathroom on his own. He has to be reminded a lot because he gets too busy and doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing. Mister has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). We also still have him in pull-ups at night because he sleeps so hard. Funny how this is the same kid who didn’t sleep through the night until he was about nine months old, and when I say “didn’t sleep through the night” I’m talking waking up every hour and a half to two hours. How did we function? At the time it felt like it would never end, and now it feels like a lifetime ago. (I try to remind myself of this when it feels like we’ll be in the NICU forever.)

We’re in the process of putting together his big boy room and he’s now spent two nights in his new room. So far things are going well, and he’s so excited about his big boy bed that he actually goes to bed easier than he did when he was in the crib! It’s fun to snuggle in bed together and read before bedtime and wake him up by crawling in bed with him. I still need to move his clothes and toys over, and I have a bookshelf I need to paint and put in there, but the walls and ceiling are painted, curtains are hung, and he’s got a bed and a few wall decorations so far (I’m doing a travel/transportation theme). The plan is to put Emmett in the nursery once he comes home since it’s already set up for a baby, and then once E is sleeping more reliably we’ll move him in with T and make what’s currently the nursery into the new guest room. For now guests will have to sleep in the loft/office/playroom.

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He looks so little in his big bed!

We’ve had a little bit of a rough spell as far as attitude and tantrums go — I’m not sure how much of that is typical threenager behavior versus him having a hard time adjusting to the changes. As much as D and I try to maintain a sense of normalcy (still sending T to daycare during the week and making sure we’re all home together each night for dinner), I’m sure he’s aware of just how different things are and he can probably sense some of our stress. He actually bit a kid at daycare a couple weeks ago, and he’s never been the least bit aggressive to other kids. Usually we’re getting incident reports because he’s been bitten, not because he’s the biter!

But, when he’s not throwing an epic tantrum, he’s really a great kid. I can’t believe how much he’s blossomed over the last year and especially in the last few months. His language has absolutely exploded and he never stops talking now. I can’t believe I was actually worried about him not talking enough at one point. Just goes to show that kids usually catch up and do things on their own timeline. He is (usually) polite and says please and thank you. In fact, he usually says “please” twice in a sentence (e.g., “please can I have some milk please?”). It’s adorable. He’s really into dinosaurs, Transformers, super heroes and still has to sleep with “Blue” every night (his blue dog blanket lovey). We temporarily lost Blue for two days in the room transition and T was pretty sad about that.

Eating has been a battle of wills. I’m told he eats well at school and at other people’s houses, but at home it’s become a game for him. He stalls, plays with his food, claims he doesn’t like something he usually likes, picks at his food, and then usually eventually eats it, but it takes FOR-E-VER.

Other things: he loves to be chased and tickled and will scream for us to stop and once we do, begs us to chase or tickle him again. He has an infectious laugh and a great smile, but when you ask him to smile on command, this is what he gives you:

"Smile!"

“Smile!”

 

Here's a more natural smile - riding the Great Wheel with his cousin Molly.

Here’s a more natural smile – riding the Great Wheel with his cousin Molly.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this stage. Despite the occasional meltdown, he is just such a joy to be around. He talks often about baby Emmett and I am looking forward to having a house full of boys in just a couple more months. I think Theo and his little brother will become best buds, and Emmett certainly has a pretty great brother to look up to.

Mother of sons.

Today is Mother’s Day. T is napping, D is cleaning up after part one of our two-part birthday party for T yesterday (more on that in another post!), and I’m sitting on the couch, feeling baby kick. It’s hard to believe I’m about to be a mom of two boys. I think often about what it will be like — with two kids, and both of them boys! Will life be twice as crazy as it is now? Will baby #2 be like a mini-T or will they be polar opposites? I’m excited to find out.

Interestingly, I’ve found myself almost defending our excitement when I tell people we’re having a second boy. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood the concept of “gender disappointment.” Maybe it’s because we’ve had such a rocky road building our family that I take nothing for granted. Maybe it’s the practical side of me that knows any time you have a baby, you’ve got a 50/50 shot at either sex. But I’ve been amazed at the way many people act almost sympathetic when I tell them we’re having another boy. The receptionist at T’s haircut place actually said to me the other day “Oh. Well I hope you’re still excited.” Huh? Of course I’m still excited.

Sure, when we found out we were having another boy there was a small part of me that briefly acknowledged the finality of the fact that I’ll never have a daughter. We are D-O-N-E after this. But any sense that I might be missing out by not having a girl was immediately overshadowed by the joy in finding out we are having another boy! There’s just something about finding out the sex of your baby that makes everything feel infinitely more real. You begin picturing what they might look like. You start thinking seriously about names. You feel one step closer to actually “knowing” your baby. And let’s face it, if T is any indication, we make pretty awesome boys.

But inevitably, the first question people ask is, “will you try again for a girl?” Try again? Like we got it wrong this time? First of all, we would have just as much of a chance of having a third boy — maybe even higher, according to some theories. And I’ve always only wanted two kids. But let’s say we did try again. How would our second boy feel if he found out the only reason he was the middle child was because he didn’t have a vagina? That his parents felt the need to try again because he wasn’t quite what they wanted? I’m being dramatic. I know parents don’t tell their children they wish they had been born the opposite sex (at least I hope not!), but when did everyone determine “one of each” was the ultimate goal?

Truthfully, I’m looking forward to being a mom of two boys. From a practical standpoint, we already have the clothes, gear, toys. And our boys can share a room, which makes things easier from a space perspective. But more importantly, I can’t wait to see how they are with each other. While they aren’t as close in age as we would have preferred, they’ll still be close enough to play together, and will probably have an unbreakable bond. I know our younger son will look up to Theo in a way only a little brother can.

I also must say, that while I don’t know any different, being a boy mom is pretty special. Boys tend to love their moms fiercely. Theo blazes through life a million miles a minute, but always takes the time to give me a hug or kiss, or to tell me he loves me. And while it’s exhausting being the one he usually calls to first, there’s something sweet about how he wants me to comfort him in the night when he’s scared, and asks for me first thing in the morning when he wakes up. He loves his dad too, and I don’t mean to downplay their bond, but their bond is just different. Talking to other boy moms, I think this is a pretty common dynamic between boys and moms.

And, let’s face it, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the fact that I’m happy to bypass the teenage girl drama. I know I’m grossly overgeneralizing, but I was a dramatic and emotional teenager and karma would surely come back to bite me if I’d had a girl. I’ll settle for being my three nieces’ favorite aunt and will leave the hard stuff to their parents!

On a more serious note, I’m both looking forward to, and overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising these boys to be good men. They say you can tell a lot about a man’s potential as a husband by the way he treats his mother, and I’m honored that I get to play such a huge role in preparing them for their future wives (if they choose to go that route). And some day I hope to be the type of mother-in-law who will love my daughters-in-law as my own children. I have had the bar set high by two pretty great mothers-in-law, myself.

Yes, I’m feeling blessed to be a mom of two boys.

13 weeks pregnant — an unexpected loss.

Yesterday at 13 weeks, we went in for a routine checkup, and found out our baby was gone. The irony is that I think I was finally at the point where I was feeling confident. We had told most of our family and friends last week since we had reached the “magical” 12-week mark, and I had found the heartbeat via home doppler several times. I’m still processing everything and I’m kind of in shock. I mean, who loses a baby at 13 weeks for no apparent reason?

Our appointment started out very normal. It was our first meeting with our new OB (last appointment had been with the nurse practitioner), and she went over our history, talked about both our previous loss and our successful pregnancy, and talked about our plans for this pregnancy as far as any testing, delivery plans, etc. At the end of the appointment she pulled out the doppler to check for the heartbeat. When she didn’t find it right away, none of us were terribly worried at first. I know it can be tricky to find. But the longer she searched, the more concerned I started getting. She kept yapping away about something and I honestly have no idea what she was saying — I just kept listening for that unmistakable galloping sound. A few times I glanced over at D and I could see he was starting to worry too. Finally she said she was going to grab the ultrasound machine. I had this overwhelming feeling of dread, but kept trying to tell myself it would all be okay — and hey, on the plus side I’d get to see my baby again, right? We weren’t due for another ultrasound until 20 weeks, so I kept trying to convince myself this would be a nice surprise.

But as soon as I saw the baby on the screen, I knew. Just 4 weeks earlier at our 9-week ultrasound, baby was dancing around on the screen, waving its arms and legs. This time the baby was very still. And there was no flicker in the middle where we should have seen the heart beating. The doctor didn’t say anything for a few minutes, while she got different angles and measurements, but I knew it was over long before she said anything. She finally confirmed there was no heartbeat and that’s when I broke down. She pointed out that the baby was measuring right on track — 13 weeks and 1 day, so it had to have happened in the last couple days. I already knew this, since I had just found the heartbeat via home doppler three days prior. She kept talking, pointing out other things — like how the shape and position of the baby meant that the death was recent, yada, yada… I honestly wasn’t listening. I just wanted to run out of the building. My baby was gone. What else mattered?

As it turns out, losing a baby at 13 weeks is more complicated than losing a baby at 7 weeks. Whereas before I was given three options: wait to miscarry naturally, induce with medicine, or a surgical D&C, this time the doctor said our only safe option was a D&C, due to the size of the baby and the amount of bleeding that would come with losing a second trimester pregnancy. I really hate the idea of another D&C, especially after all the complications we experienced last time. But my doctor assured me my experience was rare. Then again, so is miscarrying in the second trimester, water breaking before labor starts and too much lipase in your breastmilk. I seem to end up on the wrong side of statistics a lot. Unfortunately, with the long holiday weekend, we can’t even talk to the scheduler until Monday. I was instructed to head to the ER if I start bleeding over the weekend.

So here we are, in a state of limbo. Still carrying my baby, and still feeling pregnant. Still looking pregnant too. Mostly all that fits me right now are maternity clothes, but they’re just too painful to wear when I know my baby is gone. So I spent most of the afternoon yesterday cleaning out my closet and packing all my maternity clothes away again (I had just unpacked everything last weekend and put most of my regular clothes in storage, so I got to spend a few hours swapping everything out once again). Everything I own either feels tight and uncomfortable or shows off my belly, which I can’t stand to look at right now.

It just sucks. Who loses a baby at 13 weeks? And why? The doctor had no explanation. She said it was most likely a chromosomal abnormality, but everything I’ve read online says most chromosomal abnormalities are more likely to cause first trimester miscarriages. Why did baby develop this long? The doctor will do some testing on me after my D&C and see if she can find anything like an autoimmune or blood clotting disorder, which can sometimes be the culprit of late miscarriages. She also said we have the option of having the baby tested for chromosomal abnormalities after the D&C, but that it’s expensive and  usually not covered by insurance. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but I’m leaning toward not doing it. What would it tell us, really? Either the baby had an abnormality and there’s nothing we can do to prevent that from happening again, or the baby was healthy and its death was just senseless.

It was really hard to have to break the news to everyone yesterday, but the support and love we’ve received has been overwhelming (in a good way). I guess that’s the silver lining to having told so many people. Interestingly, a lot of people have offered to watch Theo for us, but to be honest, he has proved to be a beacon of light in this dark time for us. His innocence, silliness and even his tantrums have been a reminder that life goes on, and he’s provided some much-needed distraction. Although he had just learned the concept that there was a baby in mommy’s tummy, and loved to pat my belly and say “baby” and then kiss it. He did that this morning and it was like a knife through the heart. I’m glad he’s young enough that he’ll probably forget soon enough. My 9 year-old niece, on the other hand, was excited about a new cousin and I can’t imagine the job my sister-in-law had trying to explain this to her.

I had been keeping weekly entries for this pregnancy in secret and I’ve debated whether I should publish them. I think I am going to. As hard as it is to look back on, it’s still an important part of our journey. So if you’re interested, you can scroll back as far as April 30 for my first update about this pregnancy.

Dos!

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We celebrated Theo’s second birthday with another Cinco de Mayo party this year. Or, rather, two parties. Like last year, we ended up doing a family party and a friends party, just to keep the numbers manageable.

Both parties were a lot of fun, though I definitely wasn’t as prepared this year as I was last year. Last year I had been pinning stuff on Pinterest for months and had every last detail planned out. This year it kind of snuck up on me. We ended up reusing a lot of the decorations we got last year, and then the day of the party I forgot to put out the pinata and goody bags for the kids, and then most of our guests had left by the time I realized we hadn’t done cake yet. Oh well, the weather was absolutely amazing, and it was fun to see the kids running all over our yard. And I am pretty proud of how the invitations came out!

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One thing that didn’t go well (but is funny in hindsight), was the cupcakes. I had found a woman on our neighborhood Facebook page who posted that she was in culinary school and looking for experience, so she was willing to do 4 dozen cupcakes for our friends party for just $20 bucks. Sounds perfect, right? Well, here’s the picture I sent her, and here’s what we got… :/

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Looking back now, it’s pretty hilarious. I just hope she has a backup career plan!

Here are a few other pictures from the parties. All in all, we had a blast! I think the Cinco de Mayo theme may become an annual thing for us — at least until he’s old enough to insist on wanting a Ninja Turtle party or something.

Friends!

Friends!

Cutie cousins.

Cutie cousins.

Crackers are exciting!

Crackers are exciting!

"I'm two!"

“I’m two!”

Dancin'

Dancin’

Kara rocking her sombrero and mustache.

Kara rocking her sombrero and mustache.

Sweet Makena.

Sweet Makena.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Blew out his own candle this year!

Blew out his own candle this year!

Me and my little man.

Me and my little man.

Loving his new kitchen!

Loving his new kitchen!

Cousin Braden!

Cousin Braden!

With cousin Molly.

With cousin Molly.

 

5 weeks pregnant.

Another week down and still pregnant. 13 days until our first ultrasound. Time is moving very, very, very slowly. I forgot just how much I hate the first trimester. There’s so much uncertainty. I thought I might feel better this time with one successful pregnancy under my belt, but I really don’t. I’ve let it slip to a couple friends who have experienced loss, so they understand my uncertainty and are cautiously excited along with me. We’re telling my parents tonight, which I have mixed feelings about. I know they’ll be excited — maybe too excited — and I feel the need to temper expectations. It’s still so early. But, I do know if something bad were to happen, I’d want their support, so I’ve decided to tell them. That, and they’ll know when I’m not drinking with dinner tonight, anyway. 🙂

Baby is now officially an embryo, about the size of an apple seed, and looks like a tadpole. S/he is starting to form heart, stomach, liver, kidneys and other major organs, in addition to the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. By next week, baby should be double its current size (a sweet pea).

Mama: Starting the weight tracking officially. Stepped on a scale today and I’m actually down 1.6 lbs from last week. I’m starting this pregnancy a few pounds heavier than last time, so I hope I can keep the weight gain in check. Last time I gained 30 lbs, which is pretty normal, and I was able to lose it (and then some) thanks to breastfeeding, though it started creeping back up again once I weaned.

I’m largely symptom-free, which of course, has me nervous. My pregnancy app tells me I may be experiencing sore breasts (nope), nausea (very little), and fatigue (okay, that one I’m feeling, but I’ve also cut out caffeine). I know there’s still time for symptoms to kick in, but the fact that I was puking already by this stage the last two times doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. Still turning a pregnancy test positive. Good thing I’ve got a stash of tests to satisfy my newfound addition to peeing on things.

13 more days…

Theo es Uno!

I’m way late on the last monthly post, considering Theo is 14 months old tomorrow.

Things have been crazy busy lately — the usual work and daily life hectic-ness, along with an unexpected death in the family, and the monthly recap just sort of got put on the back burner. I knew I didn’t want to rush this post – it’s such a huge milestone! – but it’s just been really hard to find the time to write.

Theo is one. My baby is one. My baby is no longer a baby; he is a toddler. It’s exciting and scary and sad all at once.

I love the little man he has become. He is so funny, and he is all boy. He climbs on everything, gets into everything, loves to take apart/knock down/destroy everything, thinks farts are funny, the whole nine yards. And he loves his mama. Everyone said having boys is amazing because of how much they love their moms, and while I don’t have anything to compare it to, it’s pretty awesome.

We ended up having two birthday parties for him, to keep the crowd a little more manageable. We had one party for just immediate family (Theo’s grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles), and then a party the following weekend for our friends. We did a Cinco de Mayo theme since he was originally due on May 5 (but was 4 days late). Both parties were nearly identical for easy planning purposes, and I had a lot of fun with the details (more on that below, in photos).

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Stats: 20 lbs., 6 oz. (13th percentile); 30 inches (50th percentile). Definitely not a big kid, but the doctor wasn’t concerned

Milestones: Walking everywhere now – running, in fact. Four teeth (two on top and two on bottom). Not really talking yet, which the doctor noted, but isn’t “officially” concerned yet. She said most kids usually say “mama,” “dada,” and one to three other words by now. If he still isn’t talking by 15 months, she may have us see a speech therapist. In the meantime, she wants us to narrate everything we do. He’s quite the chatterbox, but doesn’t really say anything understandable yet.

Sleeping: He’s down to one nap a day usually, around noon(ish), which lasts for an hour or two. Sometimes he’ll do two naps on the weekends. Night sleep is pretty consistently 7:30 or 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. During the week, the early wakeup isn’t a big deal since we’re usually up around that time anyway, but on the weekends, I so wish he’d sleep in a little! But it’s such an improvement from just a few months ago that I can’t complain much. Some kids are great sleepers and some aren’t. It’s really the luck of the draw and we got the latter. Maybe our next one will be a good sleeper!

Eating: We have officially packed up all the bottles and he’s drinking whole cow’s milk from a sippy cup, but he doesn’t drink as much as he should, and the doctor wants us to keep working on that. I do notice that he drinks better from his sippy when I’m not around. I’m still nursing him first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, and occasionally to get him down for a nap. Maybe he isn’t drinking as much from his sippy because he’s holding out for the good stuff? Thankfully he’s a great eater when it comes to solid foods. He loves carbs, fruit and dairy (yogurt and cheese, especially), and does okay with meats and vegetables. They’re hit or miss. Lately I’ve been steaming frozen mixed vegetables — corn, peas, carrots and green beans — and he loves those. Not a big fan of broccoli. We’re working on getting more green in his diet!

Likes/Dislikes: Now that the weather is nicer we’ve been taking him outside to play more and he loves swinging on our play set. I’ve taken him for walks around the neighborhood too and he seems to like that okay, though sometimes I think he gets bored and wants to get out. He’s been better about riding in the car lately. He still fusses a bit when we put him in his car seat, but he doesn’t usually outright scream anymore unless he’s tired, in which case he’ll pass out after a couple minutes anyway. I think he’ll enjoy the car a lot more once we can face him forward, but the latest safety guidelines say kids should be rear-facing until they’re two years old.

Other likes include empty water bottles, remote controls, our cell phones, toilet paper rolls, lotion bottles, dad’s shoe… basically anything that’s not actually a toy is his favorite toy. I’ve mostly quit buying him toys since they’re a waste of money.

Mama: I am officially done pumping! I pumped for the last time the day before his first birthday. As mentioned above, we’re still nursing occasionally, but we’re at the point where we don’t really NEED to. There have been a few nights where I’ve had to miss putting him to bed because of a work event and D put him to bed, so he didn’t get nursed to sleep. I’m a little full and uncomfortable in the morning when I don’t nurse the night before, but it’s nice to know I can make it 24 hours between nursing sessions if needed, and that he didn’t need to nurse in order to fall asleep. I will admit, though, nursing him to sleep is one of my favorite times of the day. It’s just so peaceful and relaxing, and it’s the only time he’ll let me snuggle him. I think that will be the last session to go. Next step in the weaning process will be cutting out the nap fix, followed by the morning nursing session. I never saw myself nursing past a year, but a lot of women are doing extended breastfeeding these days, and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to age two, and beyond. I don’t think we’ll go that long – in fact, I have a work trip coming up in September and I’ll be gone for five days. Since I am not pumping, we’ll need to wean before then so I don’t explode. I am noticing my weight is starting to creep up again now that I’m not burning as many calories, so I need to keep an eye on that. I’m still below my pre-pregnancy weight, but not as skinny as I was a few months ago when I was nursing constantly. Baby bonding and nutrition aside, I can totally see how some women get addicted to nursing for the calorie burning! 😉

Okay, I’ll wrap this up with the usual photo dump. This will be my last monthly update, and I’m hoping to start blogging more frequently with short one-off posts to capture milestones and memorable stuff. Maybe I’ll procrastinate less if it’s not such a long daunting post I have to write!

 

Swinging in the park.

Swinging in the park.

Bathtime hair salon.

Bathtime hair salon.

Birthday cake.

Birthday cake.

All set up for Theo's first birthday fiesta!

Family party – all set up for Theo’s birthday fiesta!

Slide show playing on the TV.

Slide show playing on the TV.

First taste of birthday cake!

First taste of birthday cake!

Playing with his new bike from Grandma and Grandpa.

Playing with his new bike from Grandma and Grandpa.

Party guests at the friends birthday party one week later.

Party guests at the friends birthday party one week later.

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Alison was about to pop!

Alison was about to pop!

Party guests on the newly built deck.

Party guests on the newly built deck.

Brooke and her boys swinging on the swingset.

Brooke and her boys swinging on the swingset.

Me and my baby.

Me and my baby.

Dad got to close to Mr. Stickyfingers.

Dad got to close to Mr. Stickyfingers.

Kiddos and the pullstring pinata.

Kiddos and the pullstring pinata.

Cousin Ryder and buddy Declan. These two are the same age, if you can believe it!

Cousin Ryder and buddy Declan. These two are the same age, if you can believe it!

DIY photo booth.

DIY photo booth.

Cousins Ryder and Theo.

Cousins Ryder and Theo.

Family photo booth fun.

Family photo booth fun.

Mustache straws.

Mustache straws.

Mexican flag strawberries.

Mexican flag strawberries.

Waiting for brunch on Mother's Day.

Waiting for brunch on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day at the Mariner's game.

Mother’s Day at the Mariner’s game.

Watching the ballgame.

Watching the ballgame.

With daddy.

With daddy.

Well, we made it 8 and a half innings.

Well, we made it 8 and a half innings.

With buddies Cody, Declan and Ella.

With buddies Cody, Declan and Ella.

Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeeee!

Spaghetti monster.

Spaghetti monster.

My angel.

My angel.

Doggie jailbreak.

Doggie jailbreak.

Hanging with the older ladies at Kara's birthday party.

Hanging with the older ladies at Kara’s birthday party.

Baby gate fail. (climbed under the railing)

Baby gate fail. (climbed under the railing)

My little bed head.

My little bed head.

Helping dad in the yard.

Helping dad in the yard.

Hiking with dada.

Hiking with dada.

Helping in the kitchen with Boppa and Grandma Hoffman.

Helping in the kitchen with Boppa and Grandma Hoffman.

Obsessed with hats. Wants to be like dad, I guess!

Obsessed with hats. Wants to be like dad, I guess!

Kisses from Stewie.

Kisses from Stewie.

 

 

Eleven Months Old.

The countdown is on to a year. Where has time gone and what happened to my little baby? Hard to believe in just a couple weeks we’ll officially have a toddler (sniffle). It’s really bittersweet; while it’s so much fun to see what a little big personality he’s developing, and watching him learn and grow every day, it’s sad to look back at how tiny he once was and know we’ll never get that time back. Even if we have another child, those precious first days, weeks, months will just never be the same as they were the first time around.

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Stats: 21 lbs! He’s put on almost two pounds in the last month, which is good, since he’s always been such a little guy.

Milestones: We officially have a walker! He took his first unassisted steps a couple weeks ago… while his aunt and uncle were babysitting him, so I missed it. Sad face. Thankfully they got a video and he’s done it several times since then. He still prefers crawling as his mode of transportation since he’s so fast, but he’s been gradually walking more and more. Knowing this kid, he’ll be running in about a week. We now have three teeth – two on the bottom and one on the top – and the second top tooth is about to poke through any day now. He’s clapping his hands, waving bye-bye and his latest achievement is giving hugs. Melts my heart when he does that. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s never been much of a snuggler since he never sits still, but now at least he’ll pause for a sec and give me a hug before he’s off and running again (and by “running” I mean crawling at warp speed).

Sleeping: Sleeping is going great. He’s very consistently sleeping from about 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. He’s down to one nap per day at daycare, which is required for him to transition to the toddler room, but at home I notice he still does better with two naps most days.

Eating: Kid loves to eat. He’s able to take bites of things now that he has two teeth on the bottom and one chomper on the top. Last night I gave him a pickle, which was hilarious. He’d recoil and shiver with each bite, but then go back for more. He loves fruits, carbs (bread, pasta, rice, cereal), yogurt, cheese and meat. Vegetables are hit or miss. He loves zucchini and carrots, but when it comes to most green veggies I can only get him to take a few bites before he starts turning his head. We’ve started introducing whole cow’s milk, which he’ll sometimes drink a little of, but isn’t crazy about. We’re also working on getting him better at using a sippy cup. This is another milestone he’ll have to reach before he can make the transition to the one year-old room at daycare — drinking cow’s milk from a sippy. I can’t remember if I mentioned this already, but D has a new job which makes our old daycare location really inconvenient for dropoff/pickup, so we’re going to transfer T to a different daycare. In order to minimize the number of transitions, we’ve decided to make the move at a year of age, when he’d be moving classrooms anyway. But since he can’t move until he hits certain milestones, we’ll have to keep him in the infant room (which, in addition to being out of the way for D is about $75 more per WEEK!). Needless to say, we’re eager for him to “graduate!”

Likes/Dislikes: Still loves bath time. Thankfully his little phase of pooping in the tub seems to have passed (knock on wood!). He has developed a fascination with putting his mouth in the water and blowing bubbles — and occasionally sucks in, causing him to cough and sputter! Hopefully he learns his lesson soon that he can’t breathe water! I REALLY want to get him into swimming lessons, but they always fill up before I can sign up. He really loves the water and I want to take advantage of this and continue to build his comfort in the water before he decides he doesn’t like it. That’s one thing I’m learning quickly about this age – nothing is a given. He may love something one day and hate it the next, or vice versa. He’s been going through a phase now where he HATES the car, for example, but I think we’re finally turning a corner there, as he hasn’t been as bad in the car the last week or so. Last weekend was Easter and we took him to the in-laws’ farm for an egg hunt. That was his first time in the grass (ours has been so wet lately), and it was really funny to watch him. He didn’t like the poky feeling on the palms of his hands and refused to crawl anywhere. The terrain was a little too uneven for him to walk, so he just scooted around on his knees a lot.

Mama: I’m coming to the end of my breastfeeding journey and I have mixed feelings. I’m definitely looking forward to not pumping anymore, but I’m starting to realize just how dependent I am on nursing him. For better or for worse, nursing has been a pit of a panacea. Hungry? Instant meal that’s just the right temperature and no bottle parts to clean. Fussy? Here, this will calm you down. Need to go to sleep? It’s like these things are filled with Nyquil and he’s out in 5 minutes. And I’ll admit, a small (vain) part of me is going to miss burning an extra 500 calories per day while eating whatever I want and continuing to lose weight! 🙂 Then again, my appetite has been enormous while breastfeeding (even moreso than when I was pregnant), so maybe that will subside once I wean. I just hope he’s able to make the transition to a sippy with cow’s milk in the next few weeks. My plan all along has been to be done pumping by his first birthday. I’m already reducing my pumping sessions at work, so I’m supplementing an average of 4 oz per day from my freezer stash. At the rate I’m going through my stash, I should have about 85 oz left by his first birthday, so even if he isn’t fully on board with cow’s milk by then, maybe I can do some mixing of breastmilk and cow’s milk to ease the transition. I may still nurse morning and night for a while if my body will keep producing, just because I enjoy that time we have together, but I’m otherwise planning on retiring the boobs in just a few weeks! I really am thankful to have made my goal of breastfeeding for a year. It certainly hasn’t always been easy.

With that, I’ll leave you with some pictures from the last month…

Shopping with Mom at Costco.

Shopping with Mom at Costco.

Swinging in the sunshine.

Swinging in the sunshine.

Loves the dishwasher!

Loves the dishwasher!

Playing with his favorite new toy on Easter.

Playing with his favorite new toy on Easter.

Easter egg hunting with cousin Molly.

Easter egg hunting with cousin Molly.

Easter eggs.

Not sure what to think about the poky grass.

Not sure what to think about the poky grass.

Egg hunting with dada.

Egg hunting with Dada.

Theo and his Boppa on the farm.

Theo and his Boppa on the farm.

Baby selfie.

Baby selfie.

All worn out from egg hunting.

All worn out from egg hunting.

Playing with his new Easter toys at Grandma and Boppa's.

Playing with his new Easter toys at Grandma and Boppa’s.