...we ship most of what we own to the US. Our house is a mess of boxes and stuff everywhere. We'll be living out of suitcases for a month. With only a handful of books and toys. And Riley keeps unpacking the things I pack. And Mark is working all hours frantically trying to finish his thesis. BUT. In all the chaos and mess, we still have time for fun...
Just not a lot of time for blogging. Especially since THIS is happening right now... snoring and all...
Night night friends, my 2 year old snuggle buddy awaits... I need someone to snuggle while my husband works late into the night/early morning!
Seems like she JUST turned two, how can she be 26 months already? She will be two and a half before I know it!
This past month has been full of all kinds of fun and exciting things. Riley gets smarter and funnier and more talkative by the day. The biggest development this past month has been the EXPLOSION in the number of songs and stories she has memorized. She is constantly amazing me by singing song after song after song, then reading (from memory) dozens of stories, and even reciting a bunch of them without looking at the book. She also ALWAYS knows if you skip a page while reading. :) I make up a new story for her before each nap/bedtime, and she retells them to me later on, and asks for specific stories that I've told her (her fave is currently the one about Mickey going to the zoo...)
For some reason, lately she is absolutely obsessed with the ABCs. Looking at letters, sounding out letters, spelling things, doing ABC puzzles, singing ABC songs, etc.. she just loves it. AND? She can now sing the ABCs in spanish. Not perfectly, but it's the cutest thing in the world! No, I take that back... her counting to ten in spanish is the cutest thing in the world. Especially because she doesn't like to say "nueve" (9), so she goes "ocho" (8) "mocho" (her version of 9) and "diez" (10)... I'll have to get it on video. She also loves listening to spanish songs on youtube lately.
Favorite activities lately include: painting, reading books, puzzles, and jumping off of things, or jumping on to things. Her favorite thing to do is "a kaboom crash," which basically means making a pile out of all the pillows in the house, and jumping onto it over and over and over again. She literally hops around everywhere she goes... the girl is going to have some strong leg muscles!!
This past month she has started waking up at night again. She typically wakes up around midnight, and comes into our bed for the rest of the night. And to be honest, we really don't mind at all. In fact, I like having her come in and snuggle with us. And lucky for her, Jackson seems to be totally anti co-sleeping anyway these days, so he's never in our bed, so we don't have any issues there.
Now, let's talk about Riley's sleep. Somehow, she has gotten back into the habit of needing me to lay with her to go to sleep for both her nap and bedtime. And ONLY me, not Mark. And we thought about trying to break her of the habit, but it was clear that it would involve a HUGE battle with lots of screaming, and it wasn't a battle I was/am willing to have at this point. The thing is, it's not that she doesn't want to go to bed because she wants to play with toys or she's being "naughty," she just wants to snuggle and be comforted by her mama. So all it really means is I make sure her nap time starts after Jackson is already in his bed so I can spend a little extra time snuggling her. And then bedtime takes me a bit longer than normal every night since I lay with her and tell her stories and snuggle and tickle her until she falls asleep. And when she wakes up, she runs straight into our room, and straight into my arms to snuggle, and she's back asleep within a minute. I must say, she is a very cute little snuggle buddy. :)
Potty training has been going extremely well. In fact, not really potty "training" any more, as I think she's got it down pretty well. She still sleeps in pull-ups, and I think we'll keep it that way for a while longer since she wakes up in the morning with a wet pull-up quite frequently. She has had a few naps in underwear and she often keeps her pull-up dry for nap time, but not 100% of the time yet, and to be honest, I don't want to have to worry about washing sheets on a daily basis with all the other things going on in our lives at the moment.
Riley has decided that she loves cereal, especially muesli. She also loves carrots, and was SO EXCITED to eat her baby carrots that she planted and grew in a pot in the backyard. They were pretty small since she sort of, um, overplanted (a.k.a. dumped the whole bag of seeds into one pot), so there was a bit of overcrowding in the pot, but some of them came out a decent size, and she devoured them! I love the idea of growing our own fruits and veggies, and she really enjoys it as well. Riley has also decided that she now likes grapes again, after refusing to even put one in her mouth for the last 10 months, pretty much. Toddlers are weird, I tell you.
This month Riley has really taken a huge interest in listening to music. She loves to sing, but she is now obsessed with the toddler station we have on spotify. She clicks around and listens to the songs she likes, and loves having the headphones in, and is happy to sit and listen. She also has a whole bunch of CDs that she likes to listen to and sing along and dance.
She is also JUST now starting to get into the "not wanting to share" phase of her life. She's starting to use the words MINE and MY_____ more frequently. She will occasionally take toys off of Jackson, but she's learning that if she wants a toy that he has, she has to either wait until he's done, or offer him a new toy to trade. Mostly she prefers to trade, as waiting is not really the easiest thing for a 2 year old! For the most part, this seems to work. The only time we really have issues is if he drools on one of her favorite toys or books, then she is not happy. But again, pretty easily solved by me wiping it off, and then she's over it. I can see we might have some issues once Jackson really gets mobile, so we're trying to set some sharing ground rules and expectations now so that we don't have as many problems in the future.
waiting for daddy to get home
This month Riley had her very first real fall, and I am still having nightmares over it. I took her and Jackson to the playground, and Riley is usually very good on this playground. She can climb up by herself, do all the things by herself, and she knows she can't just jump off the ledge and things like that. Well, this time, I helped her climb up this one part that is a little tricky for her, and then I went around to meet her at the bottom of the slide. A little boy climbed up right after her, and she was sort of in a trance watching him, and she started to scoot backwards without watching where she was going. I saw this all happening, and the way the playground is set up, I couldn't actually get to her without going all the way around, so I started yelling to her while I was running around to try and get her to stop stepping back, but I couldn't get there in time and she fell backwards right off this huge ledge (it was one of those ones with the fire pole kind of thing for the big kids to go down) and she landed flat on the ground. It was one of those falls that every other person at the playground went silent and stared while I scooped her up to make sure she was not seriously injured. Which, she wasn't, but she was definitely hurt and shaken up, and she got a decent bruise on her back the following day. I'm just so thankful she didn't get seriously injured.
Her imagination is also taking off... she likes to share her drinks and snacks with her little dolls because they get hungry and thirsty. She puts them to sleep when they get tired. She has full conversations with her little mickey, goofy, and donald duck figurines, and tells them stories. She's pretty much just the cutest thing ever.
And I'll leave you with some funny things Riley has said over the past few days:
"That's just a boy... but, kind of looks like a girl..."
"You did a ooey gooey yucky poo poo... it's a baby poo poo!!" (she says of her rather small in size bowel movement)
"Oh no, can't find the other shoe! Think mama put it in a box!" (since our house is currently covered in moving boxes)
"Mama I need the screwdrivers to go fix my bike!"
When we're in the car "Jack Jack! We'll be home in just a few minutes okay? Don't cry baby!"
"Oh oh mama, I think he's hungry. Maybe he needs to feed some booby!"
Love that little bug.
Wow, a lot has changed in the past 2 weeks with this little munchkin! As in, most of what I wrote in his 6 month update is no longer true. So I figured we shouldn't wait until the 7 month update, and we'll squeeze in a 6.5 month one!
Firstly- he rolls! Both ways, consistently, and frequently. Baby is on the move! He see what he wants and he maneuvers and squirms and arches his back and rolls around to get it. Which is great for him, not that awesome for me, as now I have to constantly be on the lookout for stray choking hazard sized toys that he might try and pick up. You know, things like Riley's marbles and coins and stray raisins, etc...
Another big change? His sleep. He went from being the worst sleeper ever (waking up so many times per night and staying awake and just crying despite rocking or nursing) to being a (relatively) pretty great sleeper during the day, and a manageable sleeper at night. Not a good sleeper at night, but at least something we are all okay with, for the most part. He can put himself to sleep with just a little bit of help from us, and, get this, he now sometimes naps for almost 2 hours!!! Now, if only I could get him AND Riley to BOTH nap for two hours at the same time. HAHAHAHA. I wish.
He's thinking about dropping his third nap, but he can really only manage that if his first 2 naps are long enough, and he didn't wake up too early. So most days he still takes 3 naps, even if his 3rd nap is just a short one. At night, he goes to bed around 6 or 6:30pm, and is up every 2-3 hours after that. And yes, I nurse him back to sleep since that is the ONLY way he will go back to sleep. I have tried rocking him and soothing him every other way, having Mark go in there, and all he wants is to be fed. And to be perfectly honest? I really don't even mind getting up a couple times per night (well, by couple, I mean 3-4, but who's counting) to feed him... maybe it's a habit, maybe he's "too old" for middle of the night feedings, but i think that's more a matter of opinion. I didn't stop nursing Riley in the middle of the night until after her first birthday, and we all got along just fine!
Jackson does NOT like to be cold when sleeping, and he sleeps holding on to a lovey and/or cookie monster, and with a blanket over his head (put there himself). He does this almost every time he sleeps, silly baby. His ideal awake time during the day is 2-2.5 hours, but it's pretty easy to tell when he's tired. He buries his head into my chest and rubs his eyes. I sing him the same song and recite the same little rhyme to him before every sleep: "Goodnight little one, it's time for bed, so goodnight chin, and goodnight head. Goodnight cheeks, and goodnight nose, goodnight feet, and goodnight toes. Goodnight hands, and goodnight thumb, goodnight feet and goodnight bum. So goodnight little one, lay down your head, it's time for sleep, it's time for bed." Cute, right? And he knows that means it's sleepy time!
After he wakes up from his naps during the day, he requires at least 10 minutes of snuggles before he will let me put him down. And usually he wants to nurse right after he wakes up, even if he's not hungry... just a comfort thing. Then once we've filled his quota of snuggles and nursing, then he's a happy little dude! If we skip those steps, he is NOT happy to be put down! But funny thing is, when he wakes up in the morning, he doesn't even make a sound, he just plays happily in his crib! He is the most chill, happiest little guy in the mornings, sometimes we don't even know how long he has been awake, since he's awake playing happily and quietly in his crib when we wake up!
He LOVES his solids, and gets SO excited when he sees a bib and a spoon, he knows what's coming! But his food MUST be warm, he doesn't like it cold or even room temp. We try to give him food to eat on his own, but he gets really frustrated when he can't get it into his mouth fast enough! And he gets so mad if he can't eat whatever we are eating (say, a peanut butter sandwich, for example). He's also re-discovered his tongue, only on all new levels. It's like a little lizard tongue, he sticks it all the way out and then curls it up...
He loves chomping on everything and anything, but still no teeth! He loves playing with the all of Riley's toys, especially her blocks, puzzle pieces and her abacus. She mostly shares with him so far, so we haven't had many issues there. She also knows that all she has to do to get a toy from him is hand him a new toy and do a trade, which he doesn't seem to mind one bit. Not yet, anyway.
Other new developments? He's developed his first fears! He's never been one to startle easily, not even at loud noises. But just recently he's decided he's afraid of the vacuum! And occasionally he gets frightened of sudden unexpected outbursts. He's easily calmed with a quick cuddle, but this only started just recently! He loves books, but really only just eating them... the pictures keep him interested for maybe 2 seconds, and then the book goes straight in his mouth. Also if he's even remotely tired, he cries if I walk away from him. Poor little bubby!
He loves bouncing in his bouncer or his joey jumper, and would probably just stay there all day long if he was allowed. But he's not. :) He searches for toys when he's dropped them, and if he's become quite the distracted little nurser, and will crane his neck to see what's going on all around him if he hears even the slightest noise. He LOVES to be outside, and he loves dancing and jumping around while I sing to him.
He has just in the last day sort of started the think about new and different ways of getting on the move... i.e. taking is first "steps" towards the crawling motion. Oy. It's funny, with Riley, I think part of the reason she was sitting and crawling and walking so early was because we encouraged her to do so. With Jackson, well, I'm perfectly happy for him to stay put for a little while longer, but in the last few days I have made more of an effort to encourage him to try and move around himself, and he's picked up on it reallllllly fast. As in, he may crawl way sooner than I had thought.
It's the same with sitting... we started encouraging Riley to sit up pretty early on, but obviously in the early stages of sitting, you need to be spotting them and helping... well, it's a bit harder to just sit in one place and try and help a baby sit when you have a toddler running around from activity to activity. So Jackson spent way more time on his back than Riley ever did. But when we give the kid a chance... he's a pretty good little sitter!
He's also started "talking" a lot more. He spent an entire day saying "dadadadadada" the other day. As if he was so proud of himself for discovering this new sound! He loves the bath and I am dying to take him swimming, but I think we'll wait a bit longer as I think the pool water might do a number on his skin (see red eczema cheeks above...)
Anyway, I think that pretty much sums up the changes, can't wait to see what the next 2 weeks bring before his 7 month update!!
I should never tell my mom when I have a video in the works, because it always takes me longer than I thought to get it all done and uploaded. :) But, finally, here it is... Took me forever because I kept adding to it, and now it's so long, I don't blame you for not watching it all! In the future I should just share more regular short clips rather than monster videos, but I suppose I make these for myself, my family, and for Riley to watch in the future, so I don't really mind if it's super long!! What you are about to see: silly two year old behavior, lots of reading, her telling you about her crocodile friend, lots of singing, jumping and playing!!
One of Jackson coming soon (I almost said tomorrow but realistically it may be a wee bit longer than that). Instead, a glimpse into the daily antics of my two munchkins (much shorter for your viewing pleasure).
I will admit, it has taken us a long time to get into a bit of a rhythm around here. Between different wake-up times, conflicting naps, potty training, babies that sometimes hate car rides, and cold and rainy weather, we've been pretty big homebodies lately. And normally I start to go a little stir crazy, but we've actually been doing just fine staying at home, hanging out, and finding ways to make fun. I'll warn you, this post is about to have a LOT of pictures.
Our house is a bit of a disaster zone right now. We have a little over 3 weeks until we move out, and I am frantically trying to pack things and sell things and organize things and it's chaos! There are boxes everywhere. I have very limited time where I can actually accomplish things, so there are a lot of half finished projects all over the place. Good thing is, Riley is pretty much my biggest helper. She loves getting to sort through stuff, as there's always some sort of thing that she discovers and keeps her occupied for a while. Either that or she is perfectly happy to cater to her little brother's every need.
He, on the other hand, is less than impressed with all the things going on around him that he doesn't get to take part in, which makes my productivity close to zero on some days. The boy is not afraid to shout out when he is not pleased about something, that's for sure!
He's pretty easily won over though, I must say. A few peek-a-boos, some fake belly laughs from me, or if all else fails, jumping up and down and singing always gets a good laugh out of him.
It's always amazing to see a baby's development. How they go from such helpless little blobs to opinionated, smart little explorers. So interested in everything around them. Our biggest daily "battle"right now is over books. Riley takes her book reading very seriously, and Jackson is fascinated as well, although their goals are different. Riley wants to read and be read to, to hear and enjoy the stories, and Jackson wants to get the book in his mouth RIGHT THIS INSTANT. It's sacrilege, as far as Riley is concerned. Books DO NOT go in the mouth, baby! He's eying up that puppy big time...
But such is the life of a 6 month old. Everything in the mouth. Without hesitation. It's funny too the things babies become obsessed with. Jackson currently LOVES paper. Holding it, crinkling it, eating it. Riley was the same way at this age. Paper is WAY better than toys (as far as he is concerned, I don't exactly agree...)
Jackson has also decided he's quite proficient at rolling tummy to back, but quite content not to actually roll from back to tummy. he's definitely nowhere near crawling THANK GOODNESS. I remember being so excited and encouraging Riley to crawl (around 7 months she started crawling), but I want Jackson to stay put as long as possible!! Mobility is going to bring all sorts of new challenges (like, for example, having to contain all of Riley's marbles/coins/choking hazard size toys currently on the floor). Jackson's crawling efforts consist of trying to lift his knees up under him, which causes his face to smash into the floor which causes him to cry. Yep, we're not close.
I am totally happy to enjoy my little baby being little, and to just lay on the ground and eat stuff. :) Very eloquently put, I know.
And Riley? Oh my god she has me DYING laughing every single day, over and over. Her newest thing? If you say something to her that's not right, or that she doesn't agree with, she goes, "Ummmm, actually...." with all kinds of baby sass and it's pretty much the cutest thing ever. For example, ME: "Riley, it's time for a nap." RILEY: "Um actually, we can play toys." Riiiiiiight.
She is currently obsessed with music and dancing. She loves listening to the toddler station on spotify as well as some of our many toddler music CDs, and she is obsessed with, in her own words (1) "Marble Jackson ABC Song" (Jackson Five- ABC) (2) "I like to move it move it from Madagascar!" (3) "Everybody sing a song, doo da, doo da" and (4) Fee, Fi, Fiddle-ee-i-oh... And she dances. Oh boy does she ever.
Probably should save some of these tidbits for her 26 month update in 10 days, but there's just so much goodness happening I just can't help but share now. I just love this age so much, she's such a little sponge!! Today as we were getting in the car, she started telling me all about how Jackson is HER baby, and he's not a little sister, he's just a little brother, and she wants to play toys with him and cuddle him and have him and share with him. Yeah, she is basically the best sister ever.
She's such a little goofball, I can hardly stand it. Apparently eating her toes is fun?
This post is getting a bit long and out of control, but I just had to share this picture of Jack Jack's hair. YES, he has hair! Riley had no hair until, ummm... 18 months? Jacky boy has hair! Eeek I looooooove it, and it's all blonde and the fluffiest little tuft on the top of his head I've ever seen. I just want to rub it and fluff it up all day long!!
And because it's late, and I'm tired, and 1 or both babies will likely be up multiple times tonight, I leave you with a photo dump of some of my fave photos from yesterday. Riley being her adorable self, playing Connect 4, my babies thinking I am SO SO FUNNY (it's true, I'm funny... :), and my blue-eyed sweetheart. Man, how did I luck out with two amazingly awesome kids like these?
Most mornings, one or both of my babies is up at the crack of dawn. Usually it's Riley. We do the same thing most mornings. Mark gets up with her, they share breakfast, and I get to sleep in until he leaves for work (and by sleep in, I mean until 6:45am)... the other day, I came out to the lounge in the morning to see this:
Riley is thrilled to see Jackson every morning, and always asks to snuggle with him and hold him. And he doesn't mind one bit. The two of them get cuter and cuter together every day. Riley is such a big helper. She brings me diapers, she helps me feed him, she gets him his paci, she gets him toys and helps him pick them up when he drops them. She reads him stories, and when he's asleep, she asks me over and over again when he will be awake so she can "play toys with him." And when he finally does wake up? She shouts "Yay! Baby awakey wakey now! We have to go get him!" And she runs down the hall, opens the door, and climbs up on his crib and says "hi!!! hi goo goos (one of his many nicknames), hi jackie boy!" and his face lights up big time.
Well... after I removed his lovey from his precious little face, that is... Goofball.
Our days lately have been spent mostly at home. It has been raining all week, and nap schedules don't let us get out too much, so we have to find things to do at home to keep ourselves happy and entertained. Riley is VERY into books, and we spend literally half the day reading stories. The other half is spent doing things like this ABC/123 train puzzle OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
She's obsessed, and pretty darn good at it too! I, on the other hand, think we need to get more puzzles ASAP. I can only do the same puzzle so many times before losing my mind... :)
And Jackson has been a much happier, more rested baby these days, which means he's happier playing on the floor, which means he's getting much better at rolling an d pushing all the way up on his arms, and rotating in circles. And just looking cute, of course. He looooves those blocks, and thankfully, Riley is willing to re-stack them over and over after he knocks them down.
Now when you spend all week stuck inside, a short trip to the playground one afternoon can seem like heaven to one little toddler.
And yes this is a fabulous little playground with an ocean view, no big deal...
Jackson, on the other hand, was less than impressed. Probably because (a) it was pretty cold and (b) he could only see out one eye... oops!
We had another quick playground trip today after my photo shoot, and since I was in photographer mode I went a little picture overboard. But come on, how could you not? Great lighting, cute subjects, and baby's first time on the swings!
He wasn't totally sure about the swings, much preferred to be snuggled in someone's arms. Can't say I blame him, it was still pretty cold!
And these last two photos... sigh. I love these two little critters so so much
Half a year old. I can hardly believe it.
This past month has been... interesting. So many changes and new developments in pretty much every aspect. We'll start with a big one: He sits!
He CAN sit for quite a while on his own, but as soon as he spots something to one side of him, he basically just lunges for it or gets too distracted and topples over. But if he's looking at something in front of him, or holding on to a toy, he can sit for quite a while. Although if Riley is around he always tries to look at her and then he falls over, and she thinks that is SO SO funny.
He can roll easily from tummy to back, and is so so so close to rolling from back to tummy. He goes from his back to side to back to other side, and aaaaaalmost completes the roll on to his front, but then decides he's actually quite happy on his side. When he's on his tummy he can scoot backwards (unintentionally) and spin in circles (intentionally) to get to his toys.
Speaking of getting to his toys... ooooh that boy has a temper!! If he drops a toy out of reach, he doesn't just complain, he screams about it until you help him get it back. Same for if he can't quite get something in his mouth the way he wants it. He also cries if you take something away from him, or if he wants something that we are eating that he isn't allowed to have (say, a cookie for example). Silly boy makes sure we know when he's not happy about something!
Two photos below by Rachael Brown Photography
This month (well, last week) we started solids (sort of). I talked about it a few days ago, we're taking it slowly, trying to follow his lead and not stress over it. So far he has had banana, avocado, apple, carrot, pumpkin, kumara, and parsnips. I think banana is the fave so far, although today he DEVOURED his pumpkin and kumara. I have a feeling this boy is going to be a good eater. Other than his few tastes of food here and there, he's still 100% breastfed. Which leads me to our next issue: breastfeeding.
Photo by Rachael Brown Photography
We have had zero problems with breastfeeding up until now. I've got what appears to be thrush, or something equally nasty, which basically makes each and every feeding incredibly painful. Like, 20 times worse than the newborn nipple soreness kind of pain. And he won't take a bottle, so I don't have a lot of other options. Especially since the child wants to eat every 2 hours, and lately has been wanting to nurse all through the night. This means pretty much constant pain for me. I'm hoping the medicine we've got will help clear things up asap!
Now... onto sleep. Ohhh sleep. Jackson has been pretty shocking this past month in the sleep department. Occasionally we would get good 90 minutes naps out of him, but more likely they have been about 30-40 minutes. At night, we MIGHT get a 3 hour stretch, but more likely he's up every 2, if not more. And very very frequently he is up for at least an hour in the middle of the night. This, among other things, made us realize we needed to do something different in terms of helping him sleep better, which I will cover in detail in a few days.
He's also starting to develop very clear preferences for his sleep, it seems. He sleeps with a paci, and likes to hold on to something furry- either his little bear lovey, or his cookie monster. He likes to sleep on his side with something touching his head/face (blanket/lovey) and another heavy blanket over his lower body. He likes to be rocked/bounced rather vigorously... no light rocking will do.
His perfect awake time is currently about 2 hours. His tired signs are super obvious... (1) he gets cranky and (2) if I'm holding him, he burrows his face into my body and sort of arches his back. If he does that, I know he's ready for a sleep. He is usually in bed for the night around 5:30 or 6pm which works pretty nicely for us since then we have a little bit of time with just Riley before we put her to bed for the night. He's up for the morning around 6ish, with multiple wake-ups in between.
He now cries in his car more often than not, mostly because he tends to drop his toys and then he gets mad. He loves going for walks in his stroller, but ONLY if Mark takes him. If I take him, he cries because he wants me to hold him instead. Same thing during the day... he's totally happy to play on the floor with toys for ages when Mark is looking after him, but if I come anywhere near him, or if I'm home with him (sooo... all week long) he will cry for me to pick him up and hold him and play with him! Boy loves his mama cuddles!
He still doesn't have any teeth (thank goodness, as I currently have enough pain in the feeding department, I don't need any more issues at the moment!). He loves books, chewing on foam letters, bouncing in his jumper, playing with Riley, the hand motions of itsy bitsy spider, being thrown high up into the air, being swung in our arms, bubbles, and being tickled. He's still SO ticklish. He loves having his face/cheeks massaged, being outside, standing up, and sitting like a big boy in his bath.
His eczema is looking better, but he still scratches his face all the time. I think now it might be more of a habit though, although there's no way to really tell. He loves sucking on his bottom lip (see below) and it gives him the cutest little chipmunk cheek look. Seriously, I'm not sure it gets any cuter!
Two photos below by Rachael Brown Photography
He loves his daddy, and he saves some really big belly laughs just for him. He loves to stand up, and can stand just supported by our fingers, although he will randomly start to jump so we've got to keep a tight hold on him! He puts everything in his mouth, and loves to give open mouth kisses. :) Nice a slobbery ones. He's quite the chatty little guy, and squeals and squawks and tries to say dadadada and mamamama. He is pretty good at manipulating his toys (grabbing them, shaking them, getting them in and out of his mouth so he can alternate eating them and looking at them), and he can take his paci out and put it back in all by himself. He can even throw it all the way across the room... literally.
He was totally thrilled about this photo below... not.
Sucking on his bottom lip and not happy about being on the ground.
We've started baby signs with him- "more," "milk," and "all done." He's starting to lose some of his baby chub, and is looking more and more like a little boy each and every day. He had his first "stranger anxiety" moment this month, but mostly he's happy to be around all kinds of new people as long as they smile at him. He's less than happy when his mama leaves the room, but does just fine as long as someone else is there to distract him. It is definitely clear he's becoming more and more attached to me!
Well, I think that about covers it... :) Happy 6 month birthday to my little man, we love you so so so much!
I look back at my old blog posts from when Riley was a baby, and I definitely sugar coated some things. I wish I had written some more honest posts, some more "real life" posts. You know the ones, not just cute pictures (although cute pictures are nice), not just fun outings and activities, but real every day life. So, while this post will surely still have pictures of my cute kids, it will also be 100% honest. About life with these two little munchkins at 6 months and 25 months.
I would say this past month has been the hardest month so far since Jackson was born. A huge part of that was the sickness that invaded every member of our household. It disrupted schedules and sleep, it put everyone all out of sorts, and significantly added to my sleep debt. But we have finally made it through, we're all healthy, but some of us are still not sleeping. The little ones have been all over the place with sleep lately. We'll start with Riley:
She was doing really well with sleep right up until she got really sick. Then she started waking up at night, and because she was so sick, we brought her in our bed so we could keep an eye on her and comfort her. I'll be perfectly honest... after co-sleeping with her for most of her life, I actually REALLY enjoyed having her back in our bed for part of the night. And she clearly loved it too, evidenced by the fact that she has had a very hard time going back to her own bed for the full night. Pre-bedtime routine has gotten longer and longer. More delay tactics, more demands. She doesn't want to fall asleep all on her own anymore. She wants me to lay with her and tickle and snuggle with her until she falls asleep. And she only wants ME to do it.
Now we know in part she's sort of abusing the system. She knows how to delay bedtime, she knows how to get what she wants, and she will scream the house down if she doesn't. BUT, she's also only two years old, and she just wants to snuggle with her mama. And yes it's a little more effort on my part, yes sometimes I have work to do, but the thought of letting her scream because all she wants is to snuggle with her mama? I don't know, just seems so WRONG to me at this stage. So a lot of my evenings these days are spent snuggling with her and telling her stories and watching her breath get slower and deeper as she falls into a deep sleep snuggled right into me. There are worse things in this world. :)
The trickier thing, is when she wakes up in the middle of the night. It doesn't happen every night, but I'd say maybe half of the nights she wakes up at some point. And can you guess what she wants? One thing. To come in mama's bed. Now again, I actually have no problem with her coming in our bed. She's super snuggly, she goes right to sleep, and get this... SHE SLEEPS IN when she comes in our room. Like, she sometimes sleeps until 7am (rather than 5am). So what's the problem, you ask? Well, we have this other little bubba named Jackson...
Often times when Riley wakes up, I'm either feeding Jackson, soothing Jackson, or he's already in our bed. And the ONLY time Riley gets jealous or sad about me holding Jackson is in the middle of the night. All she wants is to snuggle with me, and she is NOT happy if I am tending to him. Which, as you can imagine, is extremely difficult if I'm feeding him or if I've just spent an hour getting him to sleep, only to have her start crying and wake him up. Then we have two crying little people, two awake adults, and likely a rough day ahead. So middle of the night's can be challenging.
Now- Jackson's sleep. I seriously never know what I'm going to get with him. That might be the most frustrating part... I just can't figure it out. Some nights, he's near impossible to get to sleep. Despite all my rocking and shushing and nursing, he just cries and cries until we finally find the right combination of jiggling/bouncing/squatting that puts him to sleep. Some nights it takes me all of 5 minutes to get him down. Some nights he likes to sleep on his side in his crib, other nights he needs to be swaddled in his rock n play. Some nights he'll sleep for a few hours without making a peep, other nights he's up 5 times in the first 2 hours, requiring rocking back to sleep each time. Sometimes when he wakes, he goes right back to sleep after a feed, sometimes he's up for over an hour. I seriously never know what I'm going to get. And I've tried all the usual things- making sure he's not overtired, but also that he is actually tired enough... not overstimulated, not too hot/cold/hungry etc etc... And as far as I can tell, there's no rhyme or reason for his unpredictable sleep behavior. Well, I'm sure there IS, but we have no idea what it is.
Lately also, the only thing that can get him back to sleep is nursing. And that boy is stubborn, so no amount of rocking and walking will soothe him if he's decided he wants to be nursing. And of course it would figure that I'm battling some serious thrush at the moment, which basically makes breastfeeding EXTREMELY painful. Like, bite-my-lip-and-clench-my-whole-body-so-hard-I-almost-get-a-cramp kind of pain. So while I used to be able to lay with him and nurse him in bed while half asleep- currently that is out of the question. And he pretty much refuses a bottle, so I don't really have the option of giving my boobs a break and giving him pumped milk instead.
And then there's naps. We have made one major leap forward... he has managed to move past the single sleep cycle naps (sometimes). He still often wakes after 40ish minutes, but usually for one nap a day I get an hour and a half to and hour and 40 minutes! Sometimes I have to go in quickly and shush him for a minute, but then he can actually get back to sleep! Hooray! But then sometimes it takes me quite a while to get him to sleep, and he no longer ever just falls asleep on his own in the crib, he always requires rocking or bouncing of some sort.
The hardest part for me right now with his sleep is that he is really seeming to be affected by his lack of sleep during his waking hours. He's more fragile than normal, he's quicker to cry, he wants to be held more. He cries when I put him down or leave the room (although he doesn't do this for Mark!!). It's frustrating to know that he's overtired during the day, and not sleeping well at night, and I can't find a solution to get him sleeping better.
He's taking 3 naps a day, but it's rare that I get him and Riley both asleep at the same time for more than 20 minutes, which means I never ever get a nap/rest during the day. I am pretty much flat out exhausted. The crazy sleep habits of these two little ones combined with the fact that Jack refuses a bottle means I rarely ever get more than an hour or two of sleep in a row. My best sleep is on the weekend when Mark lets me sleep in from around 5:45 or 6:00 am to 8:00 or 8:30am. Yes, my husband is the best.
Anyway. Life is a little challenging these days. In addition to the lack of sleep, Mark is working in overdrive trying to finish his thesis, I'm trying to pack up our entire house, run a photography business, and be the best mama I can be two my little ones. So. That's our real life right now.
We had no plans of starting solids with Jackson until he turned 6 months. He wasn't showing that many signs of being ready, and I was certainly in no rush. And then just like that, he started going NUTS every single time we were eating. Trying to grab what we had, crying when he couldn't have it, watching our every move and bite... so we decided to go for it, just a week shy of turning 6 months.
Now... we were thinking of doing the baby led weaning approach. If you're unfamiliar with it, basically it allows baby to feed himself... no purees, no jars of baby foods, just things that he can grab and feed to himself. Things like banana...
Now, the thing is with baby led weaning, you really aren't supposed to help them get the food in their mouths (ummmm, soo... not like above). The whole point is that the baby can feed himself. He decides how much goes in his mouth, and learns to chew and mush it up and swallow at his own pace.
But the thing is... I'm not sure complete baby led weaning is right for me. I like the idea of it, and I want to do it, but I have this completely irrational fear of my children choking. I always have, and I just can't shake it. And I KNOW that supposedly baby led weaning actually reduces the risk of choking, and that gagging is actually just the baby learning how to eat... it just freaks me out big time. I don't know, just the thought of him being able to bite of huge chunks and then potentially having those get stuck in his throat, well, it just gives me anxiety. So we're going to go with a little bit of baby led weaning, and a little bit of spoon feeding, and just see how it goes. On BLW front he's had banana and avocado (and almost cheese quesadilla thanks to riley's "sharing"). And today, for his first spoon-fed experience: carrots/parsnips/kumara. Yum.
He did very well! He seemed to like it, although he didn't consume that much, which isn't all that surprising. And we're trying to be pretty strict about the 3 day rule (wait 3 days before introducing new foods) just because I'm a little more concerned about allergies with him than I was with Riley. Any time he has an eczema flare up I'm going to be wondering if it was due to some new food he had!
So we're taking it slow. Letting him explore, eat when he wants, not eat when he doesn't want. Totally stress free. :) The real mission is trying to explain to Riley why he can't eat all the things she's eating right away! Things like: pistachios, for example. I left her sitting next to him the other day while I went in the kitchen for two seconds and all I hear is "HE'S EATING IT!!!" and I come SPRINTING around the corner to grab the pistachio shell out of his little fingers before he could get it in his mouth. Close call, lesson learned. Now Riley likes to say to me, "no putting rubbish in the baby's mouth." Glad we've got that concept down. :)
Not the terrible twos, nothing about Riley is terrible. BUT. Ohhhh boy is she learning how to test boundaries and exert her independence.
Let me give you some examples. We'll start with her newest developments: hitting and biting. I will say, this doesn't happen very frequently, and it is clear the reason she does it is either out of frustration, or to get a reaction out of us. We have started doing a version of "time-out" with her as a consequence for this action... basically we remove her from the situation, and sit her in her room. Mark and I have slightly different ideas of what a time-out should look like, but we both agree it does not involve just sitting her in a corner and leaving her there. Mark usually sits her down and makes her stay on a certain spot, but sits with her. I usually do something similar, but give her the option of cuddling me... both version end with an apology, kiss and cuddle.
Another new development? Just flat out screaming her head off. Not for no reason, but if something doesn't go her way? She either flops to the floor, or just starts shrieking. Now, I say "something doesn't go her way" but I don't mean this happens all that frequently. She responds well MOST of the time when she doesn't get something she wants, but every so often she completely loses her cool. When this happens, she cannot be reasoned with, and any attempts to talk to her or distract her are useless, so she gets picked up and carried to her room. In this instance, she's not on time-out per se, and I give her two options. She can come out of her room when either (1) she wants a cuddle or (2) she's ready to calm down and stop crying. Most of the time she chooses the first one right away, and she jumps into my arms and stops crying. Every once in a while she keeps screaming, so I tell her that when she's ready and all calm, she can come out and give me a cuddle. She usually carries on for another minute, then trots out and tells me she's "all calm now." Then we carry on with our activities. Toddler emotions are wild, I tell you.
Other recent issues? SLEEP. Holy. cow. Riley has become a master procrastinator. Bedtime has become absolutely ridiculous this past week. As in, there have been multiple nights where I haven't gotten her to sleep until almost 9pm. We've entered the phase of "want a snack, want milk, wanna pee pee on the potty, want a story, want tickles, want more mama snuggles, etc..." And she mostly only wants me to do everything for her, not daddy. And she all of a sudden doesn't want to go to sleep on her own... now, she has just recently told me she's "a little bit scared of the dark," as well as "a little bit scared of spiders and crocodiles coming through the door," so maybe that could have something to do with it, but mostly she just wants me to snuggle her and tickle her and stay in her room with her until she falls asleep. If she was our only child, I would totally do this every night and have no problem with it. BUT. Often times Jackson needs my attention too, especially with Mark working overtime trying to write his thesis. So we've had a bit of a battle lately. I'm hoping it's just a phase and things will settle back into normal... probably right about the time we move out of our house, into temporary housing, and then across the world back to the US.
"I'm TWO!" and calling daddy.
And as long as we're on the topic of sleep: Someone seems to want to stop taking naps. This one is not a battle I'm willing to lose quite yet. I KNOW she still needs a nap, and she's not dropping it without a serious fight from me!!! BUT, it is hard work getting her to sleep. And she knows that the "need to do poo poo on the potty" is the trump card that will almost always get her out of bed. The other day I took her EIGHT times to the potty. EIGHT. Now you might think I'm a sucker, but on that eighth time she did actually poop, soo I knew she wasn't totally full of it. :) Today I spent two hours trying to get her to nap, and in the end I gave her a bunch of books, told her to sit quietly for a few more minutes and then she could get out of bed. No nap. I think part of the problem is we've been fairly inactive in the mornings this past week. The weather is not awesome, Jackson takes a morning nap so we're a little bit stuck her, and she has become even more obsessed with books than usual, so we've been spending HOURS each morning reading stories. Don't get me wrong, I love reading with her, but I think we need to get out and run around and wear her down a bit if she's going to take a nap!!
Now of course, in all this ridiculousness, there are so many amazing and hilarious things developing with her that I sometimes just sit and look at her in awe. How she can have a story read to her a few times and then she's got it memorized. How she can recite books without even looking at them. How she knows and remembers songs I've only sang to her a few times. How her imagination is taking off. How I make up stories for her before bed each night, and she remembers them and requests them days later. How all of a a sudden today she caught me totally off guard by saying, "Hey mama, what's up? Wanna raisin?" And then after Jackson woke up and was crying, she looked at me and said "Oh no, baby is so sad! Probably needs to feed some booby mama, he's hungry." The girl is sharp as a tack, and could not possibly be any funnier.
What happens when Riley goes to "get Jack Jack" after he wakes up from his nap.
He was totally pumped that that thing just magically appeared in his hands. :)
What an adventure this whole parenthood thing is!