The first questions, “How’s he sleep? Is he crawling? What’s he eating?”
Fortunately we’ve been on the early side of the milestone question, so we haven’t had to endure the list of recommendations for getting Kellen to roll, sit, or crawl. In fact, I think people find it strange that we are slightly concerned by his unwillingness to walk despite the fact that he is only 9 months old. It’s not that we are overbearing. It’s that he has been standing WELL for over a month now. He took his first steps 2 weeks ago, and yet, he still refuses to walk. He mostly refuses to attempt a step.
His sleep was crap, but fortunately we also avoided much unsolicited advice. I’m not opposed to crying it out… and in fact, I’ve always encouraged parents to do this with their kids. I am a sleep pusher, and I still am. I believe that good sleep is important to a child’s development- physical and emotional- and is just as important for parents. I believe in teaching self-soothing, and I never knew it could cause so much disagreement among parents until I started hanging out on message boards. I also don’t think people should sleep train half-heartedly. Either do it or don’t. But don’t do it halfway and then say it didn’t work! See, unsolicited advice dump right there!
Today in the grocery store a woman was buying Earth’s Best baby food. We happen to buy the same. I mentioned to her that she could buy it on Amazon.com for cheaper and get 30-days free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime (you should try it!). She looked at me like I had five eyes and then proceeded to tell me she made her own baby food. It’s what I get for giving unsolicited advice. A judgmental mom who acts like the fact that I don’t make my baby food makes me CPS-worthy. I tried to make my own food, but it was time consuming. And I trust Earth’s Best. They could make baby food. I’ll do something else. (This is also how I feel about cleaning my house!)
I can’t help but give advice. I’m a helper. I’m a Cancer. I can’t help myself.
We had seven or so ultrasounds during my pregnancy. In each one of them, Kellen was sucking on his hand or his foot. When he was born, I was told not to introduce the pacifier because it would interfere with nursing.
On the third night home, after five nights of little sleep, I found myself in the kitchen, tearing open a package of pacifiers. Within minutes of giving him the pacifier, he was asleep. I have a baby who has a need to suck. And I don’t apologize for giving him the paci.
Kellen loves the paci. I have tried to keep them in his crib so he gets them only at bed time and in the car. But pacifiers have feet, and they end up in strange places, namely the floor. I’m not a germaphobe, and I believe that exposure to germs is healthy, so I don’t freak out about the pacifiers on the floor. Kellen will pick them up wherever he finds them and plop them in his mouth.
And maybe he’s hiding them because it seems we are always looking for a pacifier. Of the fifteen or so in our house, usually I can find ONE. We have weekly pacifier hunts so that we can wash them, and even then we are lost as to where the pacis have gone. I think it’s the same place my socks go.
I used to teach. It’s what I had imagined I would be doing for at least the first few years of Kellen’s life. And then the fire happened, and then Kellen was born, and then we were meeting with contractors day after day working on the rebuild, and then I went back to work, and then I got Bell’s Palsy, and then I was diagnosed with PTSD, and then I got Lyme disease. So I took the year off, a medical leave of absence. I resigned my position at the end of this year because I have had continuing medical issues, and the stress of teaching could be too much. So I’m now working from home.
I’ve always been ambitious, not content to do nothing. The trick has been combining that ambition with an active nine month old and keeping a low stress level. I’ve got several web projects, and I’m managing to stay fairly busy. I probably spend 40 hours or more in photoshop and looking at code, which I love. But it requires a delicate balance. How do I do what I need to do for work and clean my house and entertain my child, especially when that child is a particularly demanding child?
I’ve been trying to be good about scheduling my time. We play when Kellen gets up, and everyone gets breakfast. When he goes down for a nap I start designing or compiling website information. I was doing the Shred at this time, but I feel like it takes away precious work time. The babysitter comes at 9:15 so I can hole up or go to appointments, depending on the day. Kellen goes down at 1 when the babysitter leaves. And I can hopefully get in work until 3. I do some computer work between 3 and 7:30, when he goes down, but I am trying to reserve that as family time. Then I get back on the computer at 7:30 and work until 10 or so. And then I wonder why my days seem to disappear. Don’t even ask me about my house!
I went to a woman’s college for two years. I’ve read Leonard Sax’s theories on single sex education. I’ve read studies on gender and the debate over biology versus environment. And now as a mom of a boy, I am more convinced that there are inherent biological differences between men and women (I mean, other than the obvious ones!).
Kellen’s cousin is exactly one month younger then him. And SHE provides a great basis for gender comparisons. I also am a regular on a parenting board, and I have made many gender observations from the numerous posts over the last nine months. Girls babble; boys make noise.
At five months or so, when babbling was supposed to start, all the moms of girls started posting links of their cute little babies making the cutest “mamama” noises. All the moms of boys started posting videos of their kids crawling. Instead of combining “aahhhh” and “mmmmmm” (which is apparently my name these days), my son was turning back the evolutionary clock and bringing out the best of his dinosaur-ism. He wasn’t saying “mama;” he was shrieking and screaming. When we want to play with him, we say, “AHHH,” and he repeats. It’s a great game, and one I’m sure that moms of boys completely understand.
We are coming up on Kellen’s nine month well-baby, and I wanted to be sure we could check the yes box on babbling with “mama.” So one day Dan and I walked around all day saying “mamamamama.” It worked. I now have a child who believes that the dog, the dish bowl, his food, the TV, and the daddy are “mama.” Even so, I still believe he’s calling for me. In my heart I know though, that the screams are really his attempts to communicate, not the babbling. Babbling is for girls. Boys make noise.
Here is poll about blogger comments that I think is interesting. The question is where should the blog author respond to comments left in her blog. I often leave comments and forget to check back on the response, so I should be better about that
I used to be the first one done with a meal. That was until I met Dan. He is the fastest eater ever, although I can usually still keep up with him. I’ve been working hard on eating food slower, allowing my body time to digest it, but this has been somewhat of a failed experiment. I eat fast.
Until I had Kellen.
Now mealtime is more like a shared experience. I used to feed him in the womb, and it’s almost as though we are still connected through an invisible umbilical cord except he can use his pincer grasp to feed himself. When I make dinner, I always have to remember to put some food aside for him. He’s so done with pureed food and spoons. Once we sit down, it’s a race to see if I can shove some food in my mouth before he needs another helping of chicken or peas. And since he shoves everything in all at once, I need to cut the food up, which makes the process even more difficult, especially if we are in a restaurant. No one needs to hear the Kellen-saurus.
And I feel like I am on the mom diet now. We share food. I’ll have a half an uneaten chicken tender with my salad. Or he’ll eat the last piece of pork that I was saving. That will teach me to save the best for last! I have family members who can’t stand the idea of sharing food. To them I say, “Never have kids.” What’s yours is theirs.
An exhausted mother on our message board the other day reached out for help. “I think I have what Dr. Sears calls a high-needs baby,” she wrote. Ah, one of THOSE babies.
Kellen is also a high-needs demanding baby. He has never been content to sit quietly or lie playing with his toes cooing. The moment he first rolled over (at 2 weeks) we knew we were in trouble. And his temperament has changed little since. He had infant reflux until recently, so it was easy to blame that for his neediness. But the vomiting is gone, and yet he has not changed. If he doesn’t have the right food on his tray, he bangs it and waves his hand in the air (he has made up his own baby sign for “I want”). If he isn’t content on the floor, he follows me around crying “mmmmmm MMMMMMMM.” He never goes to the daddy, just me. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was over six months old, and he only did it because we let him cry it out. He still wakes up between 4 and 6 and comes into bed with us. He arches his back and screams if you don’t give him what he wants… or you take away something that he thinks he should have.
He’s not overly social with strangers, and I think when we go to new places people think he is a serious (or grumpy) baby. We took him to get pictures last week, and he smiled for about 5 of the pictures. It was a new place, and he needed to figure it out. At the Little Gym, he is more interested in learning about how the bar is held up than he is in joining the group at circle time. I’ve sometimes worried about him socially, but at home with me he laughs and smiles.
There are days that I wish for an easy baby. But I don’t know what I would do with an easy baby. I understand him because, quite frankly, he takes after me. And I know that in the long-run, he will be the kind of kid that explores, is curious, and is a leader. It’s just hard to remember that now.
When Kellen was very very little, I nicknamed him the Bonky. It was my private little nickname (that Dan stole from me!). I named him that because it seemed like he would bonk everything. He would roll, bonk. I would try to put him in his car seat, bonk.Dan would carry him into a door jam, bonk.
When he started crawling, all of a sudden, there was a new level of bonk. He would try to crawl under my dad’s coffee table, Bonk. He crawls under the Lay-Z Boy recliner, Bonk.
A month or so ago, he crawled off our bed where he was napping. He wouldn’t fall asleep in his crib. I was at yoga. And Dan decided to lay down with him. A certain person was upset that dinner hadn’t been started and told a certain other person to start it. A certain baby was left on the bed, and when he woke up, he crawled off it. We ended up taking him to the ER at 1:00 in the morning, partly because I was having a bad reaction to Zoloft and was anxious enough as it was. He was fine. As we were leaving, someone stopped us in the hallway, and I was sure it was CPS coming to ask us how our child had fallen off a bed… and weren’t we smart enough parents to know not to leave a child unattended. And if we weren’t smart enough, maybe we weren’t fit parents.
So today Kellen was playing in the dishwasher. Since the bed incident, he seems to be more careful about leaping off high places. I think he thought he was being cautious by putting his hand down, but he didn’t make it, and he tumbled out, hitting his head and causing a very very loud scream. Fortunately he was calmed by a pacifier and Tad, the singing leapfrog (which is usually reserved for car trips only!). I imagined myself taking him back to the ER, at which point they would ask, “What happened?” If I wasn’t so bad at lying, I would probably make something up, but I’m sure I would say, “He fell out of the dishwasher.” I’m pretty sure they’d call CPS.