Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ML newsletter 7 mths old

Dear ML,

(More pics to follow)

Today you are 7 months old.

You are a cutie pie with a lot of nicknames: M-bug, Hoss, Twitch, M to the L.O., among others. In the last 3 weeks, you have gone from barely sitting up and not rolling over at all, to an entirely mobile entity. We can't keep down. You can roll from back to tummy from either your right or left side. You are stable and trustworthy sitting up. Even if you fall, you pick your head up to avoid any noggin' bashing. You can roll (though not as frequently) from your belly to your back. You get up on your knees in a crawling position and rock back and forth. You are creeping backwards. And if we walk away for more than a few minutes, you will end up backing yourself under one of the couches or tables.

You are a strong little boy, ML. You can see it in your neck and shoulders- how high you lift them off the ground (for several months now). But anyone who gets their hands on you feels it in your grip, in your sturdy movements, in the way you will not bend at the waist if you want to be in a "standing" position. Dr. L called your development "robust" and said your are very advanced in your motor skills and your developmental milestones.

Your language is pretty good too. You've got the da-da-da down... the ba-ba-ba, the bbbbrrrrbrbrbr, ooo, ooo ooo, and lots of others. It is very cute.

You are happy boy- a giggler- and are just starting to be particular about who you prefer. You love your parents but your brother is your favorite. You follow him everywhere. You laugh at his antics and there are a few things that he does just to get a rise out of you. One is saying "BOO" at various volumes- never fails to get you to smile; another is grabbing your hands and doing a little jig - never fails to get a giggle. Your Mama swears that when JB is paying attention to you, you give us this look that says, "Get lost you two... I'd like some alone time with my big bro..."

You listen to him too. When you get upset, he often is successful in comforting you: "It's okay, ML, don't worry, ML." And when you see him crying, your face contorts as if your world is coming crashing down. It is really astounding. We don't think we are imagining the intensity of this relationship. We wrote about it here, and we will try not to project our desires onto your fraternal relationship... but we do love how you both seem to love each other. We think your excellent relationship with your brother has a lot to do with your temperament. You allow for his attention-hogging ways and you seem to know on some level that this is the guy who will be there for you for the long haul.

You have been eating baby food since your five month "birthday". You are on combination, stage two food now. Having conquered rice and oat cereal, squash, carrots, peas, apples, pears, you are now eating spinach and potatoes, rice and squash and other yummy combination foods. It is almost time for mommy to whip out the old cook book and make some beans and rice and "barely seasoned chicken" mush. You started out slow with the eating. The first month, it seemed like you hated it. Even now, we have to be patient and take our time b/c you get interested in everything else when you are in that highchair and we are trying to feed you.

When it comes to your bottle, you love that thing! Pretty much on command, it is 6 oz of formula, every 3 hours during the day. Sometimes we give you 8oz in the morning or right before bed. When we start getting the bottle ready, you get insistent and demanding: "uhh uh, uhh uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, UH, UH, UH, UH, UH, UH, UH..." on and on until you get that thing in your mouth. Since you were a tiny little thing (well, let's face it you were never really a tiny, little thing, but) since you were very young, you are a terrific burper... Mommy likes to just sit you up with your belly resting on your lap and you give out an enormous UUUUUUrRRRRPPP! without even any back pats.

Despite earlier reports, you are a very good sleeper. It is only very recently that your staccato sleeping patterns have become prolonged and scheduled. Your mama excitedly reported to me this AM that, "ML has two real, scheduled naps now!!!" She never thought this would happen as most of her maternity leave was spent trying to get a whole lot of stuff done in the 20 minutes several times a day that you took a little cat nap. (Every time, being an eternal optimist, she imagined this would be the time you would sleep for one hour or maybe TWO hours. Her maternity leave- it should be said- had it's share of disappointments.)

I wrote a little bit about it here, but there was a time several weeks ago when your mama and your mommy thought they might lose their minds because we were all waking up every hour or 2 around the clock. Whenever your binki fell out, you would scream and cry out in heart break. After spending about $50 on books (between the book store and library late fees) we admitted our failings and settled on a solution. Tracy Hogg taught us that everything you were going thru was our fault. You had no idea how to settle yourself into sleep. We really screwed you up by 1) Being too attentive to your tiny noises and little discomforts, 2) Letting you fall asleep in our or other people's arms too often, 3) not providing the appropriate setting for you to learn to soothe yourself. Essentially, whenever that binki came out of your mouth when you were asleep and you made the tiniest noise, we snuck in there and wordlessly replaced for you. We basically taught you that binki's stay in mouths thru magical cascades of events that cannot be controlled... We taught you (through our sprite movements and our lightening-quick binki replacement actions)that you have no power over that binki or your body... AND also that if your binki falls out of your mouth while you sleep, the only logical explanation is that there is something VERY WRONG WITH THE WORLD!!!


So, i was told (by the books) that I had to break you.
And teach you how to care for yourself.

This is hard for a mom to do. Hard for a mom to do to a six month old. Hard for moms that endured the hospitalization of their six week old to remember. And let's face it, really impossible for that softy you will learn to call, "Mama".

So you and i spent 3 nights alone together. And I'm proud of us... we both came out of it happier, more accomplished, and (most importantly) sleeping better. You learned how to look for, hold, and manipulate your binki; how to put it in your mouth, and that if you happen to wake up without a binki in your mouth... THAT is a situation that can be remedied and the help of an adult is not even necessary. You also learned that a crib is a place to go into in order to settle down and fall asleep, not a place that you are placed in after you have fallen asleep only to wake up a few hours later wondering, "WHERE THE HELL AM I, AND WHERE IS MY BINKI?!?"

So, lately, you have been sleeping like a champ. And your moms have been very careful not to run in too soon if you start crying in the middle of the night. We take turns holding eachother back. It should be said, sweet boy, we are still trying to figure out all of the ways you getting sick and our weeklong stay in the hospital affected us. Your moms have some degree of PTSD. It is weird how worried we still are about you, even though all indications show you to be in perfect health and ideal develpment.

You have been doing amazing in day care. We are getting ready to change you and your cousins to a new school. It was not an easy move. One that came after things at your current school continued to move in an undesirable direction. We are just happy that you and your brother and cousins will all make the move together. Those girls adore you!!! We see them with you and we worry they will literally smother you with love. Especially Cameron, she can't get enough of ML!!!

At your six month visit 2 weeks ago, you were 19 lbs 6 oz; 27 1/4 inches. That puts you in the 75th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight. We say you are big, but that is pretty similar to your brother. This is what he looked like at 7 months.

We love spending our days and nights with you... You are a wonderful little boy!
All our love,
Mommy and Mama

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