Monday, June 30, 2008

Updates, Part 3

  • Clock! Within the last week, Gavin has started making a "tock" noise with his mouth (like immitating a chicken clucking) when he sees the clock in his room. Chad says he also does it with digital clocks (!!), but I haven't seen it. Today, when we weren't near any clocks at all, I asked him if he could make the clock noise and he did. Wow! In the last few weeks I have been constantly floored at just how much he is able to understand.
  • Dancing! Gavin likes to dance. Dancing, for him, really means something akin to bouncing, but he definitely associates it with music! He dances when he presses the button on the toy frog that sings the ABC song. He dances when there's music on the stereo (and he's paying attention). He dances when he's nursing before bed and wants me to sing to him. He dances when his Grandma's cell phone rings (it plays a song).
  • Sleeping (or, previously, the lack thereof)! We went on vacation to Hawaii at the end of May, and when we returned, Gavin began having (more) trouble with sleeping. Sleeping has always been a bit of a chore for him, and he often cries when we put him down in his crib before he goes to sleep, sometimes much longer than others. After Hawaii, I was trying to help him get on a 2-nap-a-day schedule. In general, he woke up in the morning around 7-8am and went to bed around 8 or 8:30pm. I was generally trying 3 hours between waking up and the first nap and 4 hours between the first and second nap. It absolutely wasn't working. Gavin was exhausted when I put him down, but he would scream for 30 minutes before both naps and then only nap for 30 minutes. Bedtime was better - he would often cry for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. During the night, he would usually wake up once to nurse and immediately fall back asleep, sometime between 3am and 5am. My brother- and sister-in-law were trying to figure out how to get their little girl to sleep through the night and read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. They said it worked great for their daughter, so I thought I'd give it a try. The basic idea is that babies' (around Gavin's age) biological clocks are such that they need a relatively early bedtime (between 6pm and 8pm), will wake up in the morning between 6am and 8am, and generally should take naps around 9am (or, 1-2 hours after waking up) and 1pm, but definitely as soon as they show signs of being tired. After about 3 weeks of trial and error, I think we have almost figured out a schedule that works. The main problem we had at first was that we tried a too-early bedtime (6:30pm), because Gavin would wake up every day sometime between 5am and 5:30am and absolutely not go back to sleep (NOT good for mama, especially while working and not getting enough sleep). We've shifted a little later (around 7pm) and will probably aim for 7:30pm, and he is actually getting up a little later. (The book said that the earlier a child goes to bed, the later they sleep, within reason, but going to bed later means they'll get up earlier because they're too tired to get good sleep - no so with Gavin! I guess he was already getting the right amount of sleep at night for him - about 11 hours). Changing the nap time schedule, though, has helped tremendously. We put Gavin down for a nap about 2 hours after he wakes up (currently, between 7:30 and 8am) and then again when he seems to be getting tired (although this is pretty hard to judge sometimes) around 12:30pm or 1pm. Sometimes he doesn't cry at all, and sometimes he just complains and babbles for a while (this is way better than half an hour of screaming!). We've also started more of a routine for nap times, in addition to bedtime, to help him calm down and get ready to sleep. His naps are still pretty short - usually 45 minutes, but maybe half of the time one or the other will be 1.5 hours - but he seems to be getting the right amount of sleep at the right times. He also has been sleeping all the way through the night without us having to really do anything special (other than not go pick him up [within reason] if he wakes up mildly complaining - he usually goes back to sleep in a few minutes). This isn't always the case, but I haven't wanted to force him since he's been teething and the last few days have been so hot that he might just need a drink in the middle of the night. But in general, I think we are almost to a sleeping schedule that works for everyone. Hooray!

Update to "Updates, Part 2"

An update to the vocabulary part of the last post - Gavin has added 2 words to his spoken vocabulary in the past two days - avocado (pronounced "ah-do!!!!", and spoken quite vehemently during mealtime when there's avocado anywhere around) and apple ("ah-puh", which he prefers, with cinnamon, to the lentils and carrots I was trying to feed him).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Updates, Part 2

  • On the move! Gavin is getting really close to walking. Only a week and a half ago (Thursday, June 19, at 10 1/2 months) he officially started "crawling". I set him down in the kitchen in the morning and walked several steps away, and he promptly "crawled" right over to me. Now, this "crawling" is not the normal hands-and-knees type - it's more of sitting on his bum with one leg back and one leg Indian-style in front, using his hands to scoot forward. (I'll have to post a video sometime soon.) But it certainly works and he has gotten quite fast at it. However, his favorite thing to do to get around is to walk holding onto someone's finger with his left hand. He's been doing this for quite a while now (see previous post and video). A pretty close second is cruising around along the furniture, walls, or whatever else he can lean against. He's been letting go and taking a couple steps recently, which has resulted in quite a few bruises. I can't imagine he won't be walking before his first birthday.
  • Talking up a storm! His verbal/language skills seem to be taking off like mad. Today, he absolutely said "cherry" (no "r"s, sounds like "che-hee") five or six times while we were giving him cherries and he wanted more. He's said "hello" ("hey-o") on many occasions and often says "up" (when he wants to get off the changing table, used to be when he wanted to be picked up but not now that he wants to walk everywhere!). Some of the words he leaves off the last consonants but gets the vowel sounds right, like "bath" ("ba!!!" when I ask if he wants to take a bath or we're in the bathroom and he sees the tub), "duck" ("du" when he's playing with his rubber duck, sees the ducks on his new toothbrush, or sees ducks in his books), and "dog" ("do" when we're looking at books, mainly). He also says "mama" (often "ma-ma-ma") and "daddy" (usually "da!"). He knows what quite a few other words mean (he probably understands more than I think he does!), like avocado (his absolute favorite food, closely followed by cherries and scrambled egg yolks), outside, squash, no, milk (does the sign sometimes), more (does the sign), eat (does the sign), nap, just a minute, baby and book (I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now). Just today I was noticing that his babbling is starting to sound a lot more word-like, with the cadence and emphasis of conversation rather than just lots of noises. Although he does still really like just making noise, too!
  • Second tooth! I'm still not sure if that thing has cut all the way through or not, but the second bottom tooth (on his left) is at least partially in. It takes Gavin soooooo long to cut a tooth! I think this one has given us at least 3 if not 4 weeks of intermittent days (or portions thereof) where he's on the edge of crying constantly unless I give him Tylenol, nursing a ton, and generally irritability. And this is only the second tooth! Can't wait for those molars (groan!!)....
  • Avocado monster! Gavin's absolute favorite food is avocado. He has eaten a whole (small-ish) one in one day. Did you know a large avocado can have 700 calories?? How is he not a million pounds by now?? He has been consuming food in general in super-large quantities recently. A normal lunch or dinner could be, for example, 2 egg yolks (scrambled), 1/3 to 1/2 an avocado, baked apples sliced (with cinnamon!) equal to about 1/4 or 1/3 of a medium-sized apple, 5 to 8 cooked baby carrots, a couple tablespoons of cheerio-like cereal and possibly something else. (Yesterday he ate almost a whole cup applesauce after we thought he might be done with dinner.) And this happens twice a day, in addition breakfast (much smaller, but still 1/3 cup baby cereal), 2 snacks, and breast milk about 5 times each day! He eats most of the things we've offered him, but has a hard time with coarser texture, like rice and chicken breasts (a couple things have made him gag and throw up - ick). Peaches, nectarines and apricots (all fresh) give him a nasty diaper rash, which is a bummer because he loves them. Most of what he eats is regular people-food, cooked until very soft or very soft or easy to eat to begin with. He still eats some baby food, especially when we're not at home, but he's not a fan if that's all he gets for days on end. His repertoire currently includes: Grains - baby rice cereal, baby oatmeal cereal, baby multi-grain cereal, cheerio-like cereal, rice puffs, shredded wheat, whole wheat pasta (with a little basil or sage); Protein - egg yolks, ground chicken, lentils; Fruits - cherries, apples, applesauce, pears, blueberries, bananas, avocado; Vegetables - squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans (baby food type only), green peas, carrots. I'm sure there's more but I can't remember them all right now!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Updates, Part 1

I wrote this last Tuesday but didn't get to finish, so here's installment 1 of some updates:

There are so many things to write about that I've been having option paralysis. Oh, and I suppose the fact that I'm really bad at taking care of Gavin and our household while still working 20 hours a week probably plays a role, too. Speaking of which, I should start my list of updates:

  • Retiring! My last day of working is Friday (okay, so that was 2 days ago now, but like I said, I wrote this on Tuesday). It's a little bittersweet to me. I know for sure I can't keep up the current schedule of things around here, and being a mother is absolutely, hands-down, the more important thing to focus on and pour my energy into. In no way do I regret my decision or think I should do something different. But it is still a little sad. I really enjoy most of the people I've worked with, and I love the problem-solving part of my job. Probably the hardest thing is this: I am quitting something I am measurably good at, where tasks can be completely completed within a reasonable time period and the amount of work I have to do is usually comparable to the amount of time I have to do it in, where someone affirms when I've done a good job and values my input, where I can use my problem-solving skills in a math-y and science-y way to come to conclusions based on reason. And I am quitting that in order to do something full-time (not just 40 hours a week, but 24x7) that I am not good at and have no expertise in (or really any idea whatsoever of what I'm doing), there are always many more things to do than I can get done, and although my problem-solving skills will most certainly be used, it will not necessarily be in the most satisfying ways. So, I suppose it's a great time for some spiritual growth and really figuring out that my self-worth is not tied to how I perform but is found in who I am in Christ and who I am becoming, only through the grace and transforming character of Jesus.