April 2008


Walker is ... sleeping? Walker turned double digits this past week. Yes, he’s the big 10 months. What a big boy. And this big boy has started a new way of sleeping. He goes to bed and decides he’s not quite ready to nod off. He sits up and plays until he can’t keep his little eyes open. And then he just falls forward and sleeps on his face. The first time he did it was at day care. Lisa went in to check on him during nap time and she found the little guy asleep on his feet. He had little ridges in his forehead from the seams of his shoes. This picture of him doubled over is from today’s nap, and it’s a shame we didn’t take video. The snoring really makes the whole thing even funnier.

Walker does seem much happier now that he’s able to lie down, sit up, roll over, and scoot around and then do it all over again. He’s all smiles and claps at everything. He’s trying to get the most out of each day and is starting his adventures at 5:30 each morning. While I don’t go in to get him until 6:30, I am not really sleeping since the little munchkin is quite a little talker and spends the hour telling his animals all about his dreams.

His sleeping has improved although we haven’t settled into a real pattern yet. We did have a few nice days of waking only at 1:15 and then sleeping through to 6:30 but now, as I mentioned, he’s decided mornings should be started a wee bit earlier.

Bottom teethBath time has gotten more interesting. Walker continues to adore the water and has a fantastic time playing with a dozen bath toys. Just like on land, he is constantly in motion — kicking, looking around, banging things on the sides and putting things in or out of the water. His tub is a small plastic tub that sits in our full size porcelain one. Yesterday, he surprised me by starting to climb out of his little tub to get to his big floating boat. That kid is really testing his abilities — and my reflexes.

Watermelon feels funnyThis weekend was fantastic and Walker enjoyed a BBQ in Marin at Adrienne and Jim’s house (he was so good and happy!), a trip to the zoo, and a bit of jaunt on the beach. The sand was so much fun to touch and the rocks made such wonderful noise when banged together. We got a few photos of the elusive top and bottom teeth. You’ll have to look carefully to see them.

And a friend loaned us a high chair with a tray. Walker has been very interested in feeding himself. (He’s still on strike against the bottle — even the one that looks and feels a lot like a boob.) He loves his puffs and I thought we’d continue the self-feeding with a few pieces of Rotini pasta and cut up watermelon. He enjoyed the pasta because it stuck to his hand and was more difficult to throw (he did manage to get some in his mouth) and the watermelon was much more fun to crush with his palm than to eat (none made it to his mouth). I’m sure he’ll get the hang of eating non-mushy foods but I’m not sure I’ll survive the mess.

And I end with one thing Walker does that makes my skin crawl — he’s so enthralled with his new teeth that he’s decided grinding the top and bottom teeth together makes a really neat noise. Like nails on a chalkboard. It’s making me cringe just thinking about it.

Sunday hair Top tooth

(Walker reads the paper on a Sunday despite the wild hair / There’s a top tooth, do you see it?)

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Walker is just starting to put together the moves necessary to crawl. He’s getting on his hands and knees and teetering forward and back, forward and back. He’s also started sitting up all on his own. He’s been so close for so long. He reclines on his side like a decadent ancient Roman politician waiting for his grapes. He then pushes up from his elbow to his wrist and then makes a final shove from his hand and Voila! Sitting! It’s taken awhile but as always, Walker does it with a flair all his own.

This week Walker has been dealing with Baby Hazing — Nature’s way of making sure babies have what it takes to grow up. Poor little Walker had some sort of Toxic Poop resulting in, well, some very uncomfortable skin irritation on his little butt. Diaper Rash just seems so barbaric. It looks all red and ouchy and it’s not like it happens somewhere rarely used. It erupts on your bum. And if you’re Walker, you spend a lot of time on your little bum. So, Diaper Rash is terrible and horrible but ranks only second on my list of Nasty Baby Hazing items.

What’s first? Teething. And teething is actually hazing for both baby AND parents. The professionals seem to agree. When Walker was little (or little-ER), I called our pediatrician (the one who reassured us that a drafty cold house didn’t result in more colds because “Eskimo babies don’t have any more colds than we do”) who informed me that I didn’t want to know how long teething lasts… Walker has his bottom two teeth all the way in and his top two teeth are well on their way. But he’s started chewing on his fingers, drooling, and his little nose is running like nobody’s business (which I hear is not attributable DIRECTLY to teething but seems to happen to him at the same time…) I recall the weeks and weeks when he was teething for those bottom choppers. How many times did Sofiya call and ask if he could have some medicine? It’s just not right. Poor little babies have these huge bones burrowing through their soft gums for weeks on end and FINALLY, the pointy little stalactites and stalagmites break through the surface. But it’s not over. They have to grow all the way in. And then there’s the rest of your mouth. Those teeth keep coming for A YEAR OR MORE! And top it off with the simple fact that the little victim can’t communicate the discomfort, ask for help, or simply whine to get sympathy. That’s just unfair. So that’s why Teething is number one on the list of Nasty Baby Hazing.

The boys' day outThis weekend was GORGEOUS. Sunny and warm, but not too warm. I have way too much to do at work. So what did I do? Spent the weekend with Walker and Larry having important family bonding time. We went to the zoo on Saturday and had a picnic with Alex, Maryann, and Malcolm on Sunday. Walker had so much fun looking at the animals and playing with bubbles on Saturday and on Sunday, he enjoyed playing with a baby who is 7 weeks older. Just a few months ago those 7 weeks seemed like an eternity between the boys but now, while still significant, the differences are less pronounced. It was so incredible to watch them interact with each other. They held hands, hugged each other, and Malcolm gave Walker a big huge KISS. Walker smacked him on the head and poked him in the eye (which is actually his unrefined hugging technique).

What's this? Back to hazing. Third on Nasty Baby Hazing is actually something the baby does to the parents. And that’s NIGHT WAKING. Some lucky parent/baby pairs don’t experience this. But the majority of folks go through some form of wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-
and-just-try-to-make-me-fall-asleep-without-
some-form-of-drama. And of course, the way you deal with this phenomenon is to feed, rock, or other form of consoling. Which, naturally, reinforces the bad night waking habits. So, then the team must face the decision about how to get a restful night’s sleep. If you’re like me, you read every book published, pour over all the silly Internet postings, and poll your friends. You try it all. Eventually something will work. But in the meantime, the little voice deep in your soul is telling you that this is your child’s way of hazing YOU while he suffers through the first two items on the Nasty Baby Hazing list.

I’m waiting to add items to the list. I’m aware that learning to walk is going to be a form of Nasty Baby Hazing for both baby (“ouch! I fell! I bonked my head on the “) and for parents (“Good Lord! I was standing right there! Tears! Bruise! Blood! OH MY! Did it do permanent physical or emotional damage to him or me?”). But we’re not there yet and someone wise has told me to take one day at a time.

And we are. Hazing and all.

You are so close Habits can be easy to start (unless of course, it involves exercise or dieting) and so very difficult to break. We’ve been spending a lot of time with Walker trying to replace some habits with new ones and in the process, we’ve noticed some changes in our own habits.

As for Walker, it’s hard to think that such a young boy can have such deeply ingrained habits. But how many of us can say we’ve been doing something consistently since the day we were born. I mean, take waking up in the middle of the night. If you had been waking up every few hours each night since you first entered the world, I suppose you’d find it hard to try something different. Change is hard. Change can be scary. Even if it involves something as nice and peaceful as, well, sleep. So Walker and I have spent some time working as a team to experience a few nights with extended hours of uninterrupted sleep. It took almost a week but eventually Walker slept more than five hours straight. OK, so he had a bit of a relapse this weekend. It can take some time to really settle in to new habits.

While Walker and I were working on his sleep, Daddy developed a new habit — he STOPPED sleeping through the night! Awakened by Walker and feeling under the weather, Daddy found it difficult to go back to sleep. So he’d pop in a STAR TREK DVD and watch a few episodes before returning to blissful slumber. After a few nights of this, and before Daddy knew it, he was waking up all by himself needing a Captain Kirk fix. Didn’t take long to start but could take awhile to break. Hope we have enough DVDs.

As for me, I’ve had a habit that it was near impossible to break. College didn’t do it (actually made it worse). Grad school didn’t do it. My parents couldn’t do it. It took a little guy who doesn’t even talk to break me of a habit I’ve had since I was a young girl. What habit could it be? Watching TV. A few months ago, I could have told you a lot about what was happening in pop culture. Now, I have no idea what’s going on in the world of the TUBE (unless Larry tells me about it). OK. So there was a writer’s strike. But that didn’t stop the TODAY show. Or the news. And there’s always good stuff on HBO On Demand or the Discovery network channels. But all those shows go unwatched. Why the change? Walker is a very observant child and we noticed he was RIVETED every time he was around the TV. He’d sit transfixed by the people on the screen. He wouldn’t move. I don’t even know if he blinked. And if you got between him and the picture, he’d move around to try to see around you. So Larry and I figured it was not a good idea to provide that kind of sensory input as his little brain develops. I get an hour or two of TV a night but most evenings I’m working or cooking or blogging while the TV plays in the background. It does make it more precious when I can sit and snuggle with Larry in front of a show. We make time for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Shabbat Shalom), LOST and the fantastic JOHN ADAMS HBO mini-series. It’s some of the best, most relaxing time I have and what I used to take for granted, I appreciate so much more. So there goes my habit. Thanks Walker. You probably saved Mommy’s eyesight.

And there was this thing...Every week Walker discovers more and more new things. He started clapping last week and now he’s a clap-aholic. EVERYTHING makes him happy enough to clap. Or, clapping makes him happy. Either way, he seems to revel in the satisfying noises he’s able to make as his fat little palms slap together. (You see, when he started clapping, there was a muted sound but now that he’s been practicing, he makes a loud SMACK, so he starts clapping the minute he wakes up and keeps going until just before he falls asleep.) He’s also been waving but it’s more of an arm flap. He’s kept hand frozen, sometimes open, sometimes closed, and he flaps his arm up and down. But this morning, as we were eating, he did a big boy wave. He looked at me and concentrated. He brought up his hand and open and closed his fist a few times. I was SO proud. I clapped my hands and gave him a big hug. He hasn’t done it again but if he’s consistent, he’ll be waving AND clapping all day long.

I’ve noticed his hands are becoming much more important in his communication. In the picture above, he was jabbering away and gesturing. Probably he’s seen Mommy talk this way. I guess we’ll need to be careful about what we do as the little guy is impressionable.