Becoming a big boy – Bo at 15 months

I feel as though I owe you (or, if nothing else, I owe myself) an update about Bo.  I feel as though I did a pretty decent job of avoiding the whole “second child syndrome” and I actually documented his first year of life fairly decently.  Of course, I was on maternity leave and his older brother was in daycare so I didn’t really have much of an excuse to be delinquent.  However, since returning to work right after his first birthday, I’ve failed miserably at keeping track of his milestones and development.

So, here we go…

Growth
At his 15 month check-up (which was a month ago), he weighed 24lbs 7oz and was 31 inches tall.  That put him in the 73rd percentile for weight and the 41st for height.  Of course, he still has a giant head (which I’ve heard is common among screen stars, so we’ll see where that leads him…)

Development
Bo likes to take things at his own speed.  He has been behind his older brother when it comes to hitting developmental milestones and he still seems like such a baby to me.  He was in absolutely no rush to walk and was happy as can be to remain on all fours.  He enjoyed cruising and climbing (stairs, couches, you name it) but would drop to his knees immediately if you tried to place him on his feet.  He finally took his first real steps at daycare a couple of weeks ago (and the daycare ladies did an amazing job of catching it on video and emailing it to me at work, where I got teary at my desk, obv!)  Now, he practically runs and it has made our lives so much easier.  One might expect it to be harder to have a walker vs a crawler, however it was making it really difficult to spend time outdoors.  Bo hated being held or strapped into the stroller for long periods, but putting him down meant he was always in the dirt.  Plus, every pair of pants had ripped knees and he couldn’t wear shorts.

In other developmental news, he finally popped three more teeth, which has improved his mood drastically.  For a while there, the poor kid was a whiny mess with hands in his mouth all the time.

Personality
Between the new walking skills and the new chompers, he has settled back into his generally happy self.  It was touch and go for a while and I was worried that our good-natured baby was turning into a  grumpy toddler.  But I think it was just his body that was brining him down.  He’s much happier now.  He still loves Littleman more than anyone in the world.  Except for maybe me.  He is a MAJOR mama’s boy.  I’m not gonna lie…it’s kind of sweet.  By this age, Littleman was already totally into daddy and I was a second class citizen.  But Bo makes it perfectly clear (in a variety of ways) that I’m still his number one.  Sometimes I wish he’d give me a bit of a break, but I know it won’t last forever so I’m cherishing it for now.

Eating
So, feeding a toddler’s always fun, isn’t it?  The teeth situation made eating a disaster for a while.  He’s gotten a bit better now, but it’s still a challenge to figure out what he’ll eat.  He used to love sandwiches, but now he tries to stuff the whole thing into his mouth rather than taking bites.  He ends up gagging on it and spitting it out.  So I’ve learned to break things up into bite sized bits but, if I’m not watching carefully, he’ll jam too much into his cheeks and then, again, have to spit it all out.  Ugh.  He loves to feed himself and is good at eating oatmeal, yogurt, Cheerios with milk and, his favourite, egg salad.

Also, I’m still nursing.  I didn’t expect to still be at it, but, hence, this is where we are.  I’m only nursing him first thing in the morning and then right before bed, but he’s showing no signs of being done with it.  Littleman breastfed until about 14 months (and we had dropped down to only the bedtime feed by the end).  At 16+ months, Bo is still going strong.

Likes, dislikes and such…
Bo has a few favourite things.  He loves his stuffed bunny, which he sleeps with and likes to cuddle.  He enjoys books, but doesn’t really want to hear you read them out loud.  Instead, he insists on holding them himself and flipping pages.  His preference is books with textures (think fluffy animals or rough trucks) and he now knows when a book is upside down and promptly flips it over.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the pool at the farm this week and he really enjoys the water.  He was unsure at first (I never did parent-and-baby swimming lessons with him – mommy fail) so it took him some time to adjust.  Now, though, he wants to “jump” off the side and doesn’t mind going under water at all.

He pretty much enjoys anything that his big brother is doing, which sometimes leads to some unhappiness.  Luckily, Littleman is very good with him and will usually give up whatever toy he’s using to avoid a meltdown.  We’re so grateful that he’s such a good big brother.

Well, this turned out longer than I expected but, if you’re still actually reading, I think you get a sense of what Bo is like these days.  I’ll leave you with a few pics. 

    
    
 

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Four

My first-born son, my baby-who-is-no-longer-a-baby, is four years old today!

Littleman has grown and matured so much this year.  He became a big brother and has rocked that role, right from the start.  His baby brother worships him and I love to see their relationship developing.

Everyday I am amazed at all the things Littleman can do on his own.  He is so independent these days.  He can reach the light switches, go to the bathroom on his own, wash his hands, get dressed.  He can talk on the phone to his grandparents, ask politely for what he wants, help set the table.  He’s learning to ski and skate and swim.  He’s no longer as shy as he used to be and it blows my mind when he goes off for his lessons with barely a wave in our direction.

Three was an interesting age. I found it harder to parent a three-year-old than a two-year-old. Littleman’s patience was in short supply and he struggled with listening. I would get frustrated with him, which never helped. Things seem to be getting better as he continues to mature. There are still some meltdowns and whiny moments at home, but my boy is very polite and well-behaved outside our home.  People often compliment us, which, I must admit, feels good.  I have to remind myself of those compliments when I’m in the middle of battle with him at home.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been a mom for four years.  In some ways it feels like he’s always been here, but sometimes I don’t know where this big kid came from!

I was looking back at what I wrote on his birthday last year.  At that time, I was dealing with a lot of guilt about being distracted by other things that were going on and not being fully focused on Littleman.  This year, it’s a different kind of guilt.  I’ve spent much of this year focusing on the baby, while Littleman has waited (usually very patiently) for his turn getting the attention.  I hope, in the coming year, I can find a way to split my time and attention more evenly so that Littleman and I can get some good mommy and son time together.

Happy Birthday, Littleman!  I am so proud of the incredible boy you are becoming.

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Last day

Today is the last day that Bo and I will spend at home together before he starts daycare. On Monday, we will begin a slow transition to daycare in advance of my return to work in March.

I have been lucky enough to have a whole year of maternity leave. At the end of each of my pregnancies, I remember thinking “a year. A whole year!” But then life happens and a year is gone in the blink of an eye.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready to leave this sweet, smiling boy. I’m not ready to see the inevitable tears as I leave him when he’s not expecting it. I’m not ready for daycare-itis, the never ending colds that he’s sure to pick up during his first year.

I know this is all just another part of growing up, of becoming a big kid. Before I know it, he’ll be waving goodbye and running off to play with his buddies. But I’m not ready yet.

Today we’ll spend the day getting ready for his big brother’s fourth birthday. We will nurse and cuddle and enjoy our day at home. On Monday, we will figure out our new normal. Til then…

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Winter activities

Today, my big kid seemed even bigger as we sent him off for his very first ski lesson!  Skiing is something that I grew up doing.  My parents put us in lessons when my sister and I were little (and they took lessons themselves at the same time) so it was something we always did as family during the winter.  D also skied (mainly cross country – he did competitive biathlon) so we knew that skiing would be a fun sport to do together as our kids got older.

We are lucky to have a small ski hill just minutes away from our family’s farm, where we spend most of our weekends and holidays.  They offer a three-day ski camp during the Christmas break, so we enrolled Littleman.  Today was the first day and he did great!  D, my dad and I bundled up and watched from the base of the hill.  After a few minutes near the bottom, they jumped on the chair lift and hit the (beginner) slopes!

I swear, I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was so, so cute.  And I was so proud of him.  He used to be so shy and would fight going off without us.  I knew he would love skiing, but wasn’t sure how he’d feel about being with the instructor.  No need to worry, though.  He was great.  He told them his name and then off he went, no looking back.  I think it helped that he did swimming and soccer lessons in the summer.  He definitely seemed much more mature today.

It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been on skis, so I’ve decided to sign myself up for a refresher lesson tomorrow.  We’ll see if I’m as brave as my kid.  I’m guessing not…

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The cat takes a wife

My three-year-old says some pretty funny shit.  I realized that I should really start writing it down because I know that I’ll never remember otherwise.

Last night, he decided to serenade me with a song from daycare.  The Farmer in the Dell.  Except he couldn’t quite remember the words.  I, of course, only remember the first verse, which I dutifully sang for him when he requested it.  Apparently that was enough to jog his memory and he took over with the second verse… “the cat takes a wife, the cat takes a wife, heigh-ho the derry-o, the cat takes a wife.”

Wait, what?

Then there’s his attempts at applying the rules of grammar.  You know, I didn’t really realize how messed up the English language can be until I became a parent and watched a little person try to learn it.  Some examples:

  • That’s yours.  This is mines.
  • Him hit me.
  • Can me help?
  • I falled.

And, finally, there are the random funny things he says:

“Old McDonald’s” = McDonald’s (the restaurant)

“Open” = Oatmeal (his favourite breakfast, which he couldn’t pronounce when he was younger.  The name just stuck.)

“Is it tomorrow?” = is it time for whatever exciting thing we were talking about yesterday?

There’s really nothing cooler than being able to have a real conversation with your kid.  When they’re babies, it’s hard to imagine being able to sit down and actually have a two-way chat with them.  As my son grows up, it amazes me how much he learns are retains every day.  So, I guess it’s really no surprise that some of his words get a little mixed-up and his grammar is not quite perfect.   As his language continues to develop, I’m sure there will be many more funny things coming out of his mouth.  And I’ll be here, enjoying it all!

Fear of change

While change can be a good thing, I think the vast majority of us struggle with adjusting to big transitions in our lives.  As a parent, I hope I can teach my children not to fear change. Or at least not to let the fear get the best of them.

That lesson, as it seems, is going to be a tough one for my three-year-old.  Ever since he was a wee one, Littleman has had a hard time with changes.  He’s a bit of a sensitive soul and, while I wouldn’t describe him as wimpy, he definitely has a tendency to cry when he gets overwhelmed or scared by something. It’s more the social situations that get to him, rather than a fear of doing physical things.

The most recent incident has been his move to the next age group at daycare.  Every year, around this time, the kids all move up a level as the kindergarten kids age out of the daycare and start school.  And every year, around this time, Littleman loses his shit.

I get it.  I was a shy kid.  I remember the nervous tummy feeling on the first day of school.  Ugh.  It’s awful.  So I can totally understand how he must feel.  But I want him to learn that, while it’s OK to feel nervous and sad for a while, new things can be fun too.

We’re nearing the end of week-two in the new class. Each morning, there are fewer and fewer tears. He still clings to my legs, but it’s taking less time to pry him away. The teachers say he’s fine throughout the day now (last week, not so much).

What I’ve come to learn about him is that he needs time to warm up to new things. He’s a quiet observer when he is in a new situation and he prefers to sit on the sidelines and watch until he feels comfortable. When we go to someone’s house or people he doesn’t know come to ours, we don’t force him to be social right away. We let him choose when he’s ready to engage. And, once he’s ready, he typically engages wholeheartedly.

I don’t think this is a bad trait to have. In fact, I like that he doesn’t jump right into things without thinking. But I hope that, as he gets older, he will be able to get comfortable with change more quickly and understand that new situations can be good.

In the meantime, I’m trying to remain patient with my little guy because I know how scary change can be.

4 months

Another month has gone by already and Bo is now four months old!  He continues to amaze me everyday.  He’s such a sweet and happy little guy.

In terms of physical development, he is getting stronger and stronger.  He reaches out for anything you put in front of him and can grab and hold things well.  He happily flips from front to back, but still isn’t rolling from his back to his tummy.

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He smiles most of the time, with his biggest grins reserved for his big brother.  He coos and babbles and giggles a lot.

Sleeping is still inconsistent, but I am happy to report that he goes to sleep very easily.  Some nights he wakes every 2.5-3 hours to eat, while on a couple of very special occasions, he’s given me a good 6-7 hour stretch.  Either way, I can put him down awake and he’ll fall asleep himself (amazing, I know!)  He’s even been known to pass out on his activity mat!

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After feeding him in the night, he falls back to sleep quickly.  I know so many people struggle with getting their babies to sleep – I sure did with my first and my sister is going through it right now – so I definitely appreciate what I have right now. I’d love to get some longer stretches of rest but I know it could be so much worse.

He’s still sleeping in his bassinet in our room (the deal with my husband was 4 months!) but he’s starting to get too big. We plan to move him into his own room soon. He’s already been having some daytime naps in his crib so I don’t expect it to be a hard transition (for him, at least!)

Everyone thinks Bo is such a big baby, so it was interesting to see what he weighed-in at when we took him to his 4-month doctor’s appointment. Turns out he’s a bit smaller than his big brother was. Bo is 17lbs 2oz and 26.5″. (At 4 months, Littleman weighed 17lbs 8oz and was 26.75″). He’s definitely on the large side though. The pediatrician commented that “17lbs is a great size for a 9 month old!” Har, har, har… Sooo funny! But seriously, he looks absolutely minute beside my niece who is 18lbs 4oz at the same age.

Bo did great at his appointment. He smiled at the doc throughout his check-up and only cried briefly after his shots. The worst part was a couple of hours later. After sleeping for most of the afternoon, he woke up extremely upset. Nothing, not even nursing, would console him. Luckily it didn’t last too long. I just felt so bad for the little guy, who is normally so pleasant and happy. It sure is horrible seeing your baby so upset.

I’m still exclusively breastfeeding. We have given up on the bottle, mainly because I forget to practice (and I hate pumping). I don’t plan to introduce solids until 6 months this time around. We started at 4.5 months with Littleman, but he wasn’t really into it at all so I don’t feel the need to rush.

This turned into a longer update than I expected! I think the main thing I want to remember about Bo at this age is how relaxed and easy-going he is. I know that can all change at any time so I am enjoying the flexibility right now.

I’ll leave off with a few more pics:

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