He is just the sweetest, cutest little monkey and he seriously gets more and more fun each and every day. LOVE love love him sooo much!
My little boo boo is 10 months old, and 10 month old Jackson is the best version yet!
This past month has been FULL of changes. Good changes. FUN changes! Let's start with... little man is CRAWLING!!! he was up rocking on his hands and knees for a little while, and after we got back from Hawaii he decided it was time, and off he went! He is now a full blown crawler, cruising around the house. He's pretty darn fast now too!!
Speaking of crawling, now that he can get himself wherever he wants to go, that boy is trouble! He can find any object he's not supposed to have, and he RACES over to get it. He loves computers, keys, remotes, cords, anything teeny tiny (notice a theme here?) He loves crawling races/chase, and for some reason he loves to crawl under coffee tables and through tiny spaces and tunnels under/between furniture. He loves playing peek-a-boo with anyone and everyone.
He got his first tooth, but still only has just the one. He is getting better with his food, and loves pretty much most fruits, any orange vegetable, and anything he can feed himself! He would eat hundreds of puffs all day long if he could. He's still nursing 3-4 times a day, and yes, still at night. He's stubborn and we just can't seem to break him of the night feeding. All in good time, right?
He has become fascinated with wheels- so he loves cars/trucks/bikes, etc. He likes to spin them and touch them and will just watch them, fascinated! He also loves this train we just bought that goes around the Christmas tree. LOVES it. He likes sticking stuff in his mouth and crawling around with it in there. He is trying to pull up to stand, but has not been successful yet, but will stand holding on to things for a really long time. He loves to open and close drawers and cabinets and doors.
He always wakes up happy in the morning, and just plays in his crib until someone comes to get him. And as soon as you walk in the room he kicks and flaps and flails with happiness. He takes 2 naps a day, that are usually 1.5-2 hours, although he had a 3 hour nap the other day! He goes to bed around 7 at night, and then is up 3-4 times after that.
He loves jumping, and being tickled, and doing anything with Riley. He's a smart little guy, and will sit there and play with his shape sorter truck until he figures out how to get the shape out that he wants. He has a temper and gets super mad if you take something away or if he wants something he can't have. He is not afraid to let you know when he isn't happy!
I have no idea how much he weighs, but he is in 12 month clothes. He knows who mama and dada and Riley are, and he is one loud, chatty little duded. He says lots of different sounds, but dadadada is definitely his favorite thing to say. He loves the water (bath and pool) and cries every time he has to get out of the bath at night. He LOVES dogs, and will crawl right over to Bailey and pet her and grab her and kiss her. He has tons of amazing facial expressions, and the best is when he clenches his whole face in excitement.
He is just the sweetest, cutest little monkey and he seriously gets more and more fun each and every day. LOVE love love him sooo much!
We seem to be settling in to life in the US now. I think the little ones are finally pretty well adjusted to the time change. They were both in bed by 7:30 tonight, so I consider that a huge success (considering they were going to sleep at 10pm or later!) Jackson, of course, is still waking up multiple times a night, and last night was pretty bad, he woke up and his skin was ll red and itchy and he was just a miserable little guy! Poor baby. His skin goes from almost perfect-looking to red and splotchy and irritated and we don't know what triggers it!
Riley is having a blast. She's loving being with her grandma and grandpa... loves that we have a trampoline and a playroom, her very own minnie mouse chair, a playground right down the street, and plenty of people to play with her. Our only issue we are having lately is the whole potty training thing. We've taken a few big steps backwards in the potty training process.
The month or two before we moved back to the US was extremely hectic. Lots of moving around and little routine, and as a result, we got a little bit lazy with her potty training, and would put her in a pull-up quite frequently. Now, she usually treated her pull-up just like underwear, and would keep them dry and tell us when she needed to use the toilet, but sometimes we couldn't get her to a toilet on time, and I think she developed some bad habits as a result of being in a pull-up so much. DOH!
So the problem now is, she still tells us when she needs to use the toilet, but she is having a really hard time keeping her underwear 100% dry. So by the time she says "need to use the potty!!!" she has already wet her undies a bit. Sometimes it's a tiny bit, and sometimes it's a lot. And there were even a few days where she just straight up peed on the floor. Luckily that only lasted for a day or two, not really sure what that was all about.
Now she seems to really be trying, I just think she gets so busy and forgets what's happening until it's too late and she REALLY needs to go. If we remind her constantly or make her sit on the toilet, she does a good job, it's just if we let her do her own thing and wait until she tells us, it's normally a little too late... soooo we go through lots of underwear each day, since even when she does make it to the toilet, her undies are still a little bit wet. Sigh. Lucky for us though, she always poops on the potty, so we haven't had to deal with that kind of clean-up!
Then there is the issue of sleep. Riley seems to be in this weird transition phase. Like, she doesn't always NEED a nap, but if she doesn't have one, she needs to be in bed really early, and the late afternoon can have quite a few overtired toddler tantrums. But then if she DOES take a nap, I cannot get her to sleep at night before 9 or 10pm. Clearly not ideal. So some days she naps (and those naps are usually 3 hours!), and some days she doesn't nap.
And also? She requires ME to lay down with her to fall asleep every single time. If she doesn't take a nap, that whole process (after stories and the whole bedtime routine) takes all of 2 minutes. No big deal. But if she does take a nap, and isn't totally 100% exhausted, it can take 30 minutes to an hour of me laying there with her. She wants more tickles and more songs and a drink of water and to use the potty and to see daddy and blah blah blah. The girl knows how to delay bedtime, that's for sure!
But the most important thing? My little babies are just so so HAPPY. We are having fun. We are enjoying this new stage in our lives. Riley is definitely loving having her daddy home every day!
And Jackson is just SUCH a joy. He's a happy little guy. He's super cuddly, and smiley, and he laughs and giggles and tries to eat everything and he talks to us all the time, and he's just our gorgeous little blue-eyed Jacky boy.
I mean, it doesn't get any cuter, right?
Well, we moved out of our house over a week ago. It was bittersweet, that's for sure. That was the house where both our babies have grown up. Our first house we bought together. We put a lot of work into it, and it was a perfect little house for our family, so we were a little sad to be moving out. But, although we were sad to move out, we are ecstatic to be moving on to the next chapter of our lives.... Mark being finished with his PhD (soon, YAY) and moving back to the US (close to my family, YAY). So. so. excited.
Now, the last few days in our house we had hardly any furniture. Or toys. Or fun stuff. Riley was perfectly happy to run around, playing with the broom, and yelling and enjoying the echo that happens when you have hardwood floors and no furniture at all.
But mostly she loved putting every last remaining toy into the TV cabinet. She was "helping" me clean, I guess. Also found in there... packing tape, ear thermometer covers, fruit snacks, Jackson's pajamas, and a few screwdrivers. As I said, she was helping.
After we moved out of our house, we stayed with Mark's parents for about 5 days. Riley was in heaven. New place, different toys, a DOG to play with, and of course, Nana and Grandad to entertain her.
They live pretty close to the beach, but unfortunately the weather was pretty awful while we were there so we didn't get a chance to go. In fact, we did the opposite. Convinced Riley it was a good idea to go puddle jumping. That is, until we realized her gum boots had already been packed away and shipped to the US, so I tried to improvise with plastic bags. Needless to say her feet got very wet and she was not impressed.
I personally have never really been an animal lover. It's just not my thing. But Riley is just absolutely obsessed with dogs. She loves Nana and Grandad's dog Harvey. He is pretty unamused by her, but she thinks he is just the greatest thing ever. Especially when he hops up on the couch, she yells "Hey! What's he doing up there!" and then hops up right next to him.
It has definitely been interesting, these past 10 days. It's a really big change for these two kids... several moves, getting rid of their toys and books, watching their things get sold or packed up, schedules and routines totally messed up. Jackson had a bit of a rough time sleep-wise at first, waking up a TON and needing to be rocked to sleep every single time, although he was pretty happy during the day so you might not have known how shocking he was at night...
And Riley? Well, while we were at Mark's parents house she went to bed later than she's ever gone to bed, she was just absolutely wired!! It hit like 5pm and she just got all kinds of energy, running around, yelling, having fun, just crazy!! And of course, not sleeping in any later. And it seems that we've been paying for that lack of sleep ever since, our little two year old has been TOUGH work these past few days... Cute, but tough work.
On Monday we moved in to the hotel we are going to be living in for almost 3 weeks. It's... okay. It's a 1.5 bedroom apartment-style room, which means Mark, Riley and I share a room and Jackson gets the 1/2 bedroom, which is really just a glorified closet, separated from the loudest toddler ever by just a sliding door. Jackson has actually been doing remarkably well with his sleeping, all things considered. Riley does well at night, but it's a bit of a mission to get her to sleep during the day since she basically has to sleep in broad daylight.
We have just under 2 more weeks here. It's going to be a long two weeks, most likely. See, we are on the 4th floor, and yes there is an elevator, but there are a few sets of stairs before and efter the elevator, which makes getting up and down on my own with two babies rather tricky. Also, we are in the city, which means parking is never guaranteed. Soooo loading and unloading babies could potentially be quite a mission. But, it's only 2 more weeks, then we're back at Mark's parents' house for a few days, and then WE FLY TO THE USA!!!
We're trying to take advantage of our last days in New Zealand, which is a bit tricky since Mark is also frantically trying to write his thesis. But we did manage to take a quick trip to the zoo today, which was pretty fun. Exhausting, but fun. And of course, we asked Riley what her favorite part of the zoo was, and her answer? The playground. (There was an animal shaped slide at the zoo). Sigh. I was quite a fan of the monkeys, I must say. Look at the mama and baby monkey (bottom right mama is nursing her little baby monkey!).
Also, you might be wondering why some of the pictures look a bit... odd. We have really crappy internet, which means uploading photos like I normally would is not an option, so I had to resize these photos, and long story short, they are very small files and overly sharpened, so they look a little weird and different than the original photo. But oh well, you get the idea. This is longest my internet has worked in ages so I'm just going to go with it.
USA... 17 days and counting!!!
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!!
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.
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!
Well, we had our first "vacation" with the two little ones this weekend. And I use the word "vacation" very, very loosely. Basically we had to report Jackson's birth to the US consulate up in Auckland (45 min plane ride up north), and also apply for a US passport and social security number, and we had to actually do it in person rather than by mail. I could've just gone up by myself (with Jackson), but we decided to make a mini vacation of it and go as a family. We had plans to go to the zoo, the aquarium, do some swimming, stay up late and watch movies in bed in our hotel room, etc.. Well, I won't give you the play-by-play of our trip, but all the following things happened:
-Riley had her first day EVER without a nap
-it rained, canceling zoo plans
-we forgot Riley's beloved "gray gray" (pink blankie) at home
-Jackson screamed bloody murder for what seemed like forever in the car as we couldn't find our freaking hotel and i just about lost my mind
-we lost one of riley's minnie mouse toys somewhere along the way
-jackson had his worst night of sleep so far
-i forgot some forms/evidence for our appointment at the consulate- luckily it was no big deal
-had the wrong size passport photos- had to get them re-printed the morning of our appointment
-we heard multiple times in the car "hurry hurry daddy i need to do a poo poo on the potty!" Number of poops? ZERO. But we sure got some smiles as we stopped at a McDonald's, a cafe, and a random gas station and sprinted in with our toddler demanding the nearest toilet!
-I left all the swim stuff in the hotel dryer. Including Riley's brand new cloth swim diaper.
-Riley spiked a massive fever at the airport/on the plane, and was absolutely miserable. Right at the same time Jackson was super tired and hungry. Two sad babies on the plane. Riley only wanted mama, Jackson could only be fed by mama... which baby do you let cry? The sick or hungry one? Riley was so sick that she basically passed out in misery while laying on me.
-Took Riley's temp when we got home, thought her fever had gone since she was feeling much cooler than on the plane... 103. Shudder to think what her temp was on the plane.
-Riley's cough takes a turn for the worse, we say a little prayer it's not croup, and snuggle her to sleep for the night.
-Crawl into bed to get some sleep. Cue Jackson waking up. Write this blog post while nursing/snuggling with him.
There were good parts too. I even took a few pictures. But for now.... sleep. At least for some.
Jackson is 5 months old today! I forgot to take his "chair" photo, so I'll have to do that tomorrow, but I took plenty of other cute ones. :)
Okay so, here we go with the updates:
Sleep (night time): I didn't think it was possible, but his night time sleep has gotten even worse in the last month! In the last week, he's been waking so many times a night I can't even count. If I'm lucky I MIGHT get a 2 hour stretch out of him. And I've tried so many different things trying to figure out what works best for him (swaddled, unswaddled, laying on side, extra layers, fewer layers, with paci, no paci, and on and on...) As of right this moment, he seems to need to be swaddled still, but he can break out of all the traditional swaddle blankets. He also likes to be slightly propped up, and seems to like a heavy blanket over him. He's likes a paci to fall asleep, but flat out refuses to take it from me at night. I'm still trying to make little tweaks and changes to see if we can find the right combination of things to get him to sleep well.
The thing is, I think a big part of the sleep problem is his eczema. He wakes up trying to claw at his face, and if you hold his arms down to block him, he gets SO mad. His skin gets all red and dry and seems itchy, and I just feel so bad for him because I don't know how to fix it. But his eczema issue is a whole different post entirely.
Sleep (day time): Hmm, this one is tricky. We've had a bit of a rough week, but that's mostly because Jackson had a cold and wasn't feeling so hot. But on average, day time sleep is... just okay. He takes short naps, and I can't seem to get him to extend them. I'd say on average his naps are 35-40 minutes, but occasionally only 15 or 20 minutes! Every once in a while I will get an hour out of him, but never longer. His ideal awake time is about 2 hours, but if he only takes a tiny nap it's much shorter. He still needs to be rocked to sleep, but sometimes we can put him in his crib and shush/pat him to sleep. If all else fails, he will almost always fall asleep in the car or in the stroller.
He's still mostly a VERY happy baby during the day. He wakes up in the morning with a big smile on his face, even though he usually did not get a good night's sleep. He's extremely chatty and is making a lot more different sounds, even saying "mama," although usually when he's crying/upset.
He still likes his play gym, but gets frustrated that he can't pull the toys off and put them in his mouth, since he's past the "batting at toys" phase. So we usually just abandon the play gym and go with a blanket and some toys on the floor. He wants everything in his mouth, and is fascinated with toys. Loves looking at them, holding them, shaking them, tasting them, and gets MAD when he drops them or can't get them in his mouth the way he wants.
He doesn't roll, but he tucks his knees up under him and tries to scoot around. And he's getting closer and closer to sitting on his own. He can sit by himself briefly, and with a little support, but I wouldn't just leave him sitting there for an extended period of time. He scoots backwards when he's on his tummy, and he loves to push off of something and move around when he's on his back or his tummy. It's funny, with Riley, I was so so excited for her to start rolling and crawling. With him, I'm perfectly happy for him to stay still as long as possible! Although I'm super super excited to see Riley's reaction when Jackson becomes mobile, I think she's going to LOVE it!
He likes to talk and screech, chew on everything and anything (including my fingers, and man can that boy bite hard!). He can blow raspberries, and grab his toes with his hands. He hasn't yet figured out his toes can go in his mouth, but I'm sure it's not far off. He loves to be held and talked to and played with, and he absolutely ADORES his big sister. We can see it more and more each day, how much he watches her and just seems to be fascinated by her. Lucky for him, she thinks he's pretty cool too.
He still likes the car and going for walks in the stroller or in a carrier. He has absolutely no problem with strangers, and is happy as long as someone is talking to him and holding him. He laughs the most for his daddy, but will smile for pretty much anyone. He thinks it's so funny when you laugh, and certain words and sounds get him to laugh almost every time.
He's still exclusively breastfed, eating every 2-3 hours during the day. I don't think he's ready for solids, which is just fine because I have no plans to introduce them before 6 months anyway. His eczema makes him slightly more likely to have food allergies, and I'd really like to try and get his eczema more under control before we start him on solids! Again, I'll save all that eczema-related info for a separate post.
He's mostly pretty happy to lay on the ground on his back or his tummy and play (especially with Riley around!), but he has just recently started to cry when I leave his sight. Not always, but he is definitely constantly aware of where I am, and if he's even the slightest bit tired or feeling at all fragile, he will cry if I go out of his sight. Although, if Riley is there with him, he doesn't cry!
One absolute FAVORITE activity right now is jumping. Just like his sister, apparently. He LOVES to be in his bouncer just jumping away and trying to manipulate all the toys. If you hold him on your lap he will jump and jump and jump. His legs are constantly going, and his arms are also constantly moving and waving and flapping unless he's using them to hold a toy or put something in his mouth.
He likes music...my singing, Riley's CDs, or some of his toys that play music- a crib mobile, a stuffed octopus, fisher price seahorse... pretty much anything that makes some music! He loves books, his lovey blanket, pinching mama, sticking his fingers in my mouth, getting leg and tummy tickles, having his face lightly rubbed/tickled, leg massages, and bath time. He does NOT like being cold, arm massages, when Riley cries, or having his nails cut.
He's the cutest sweetest little blue-eyed 5 month old and we just love him to pieces! Can't wait to see what the next month brings (hopefully a little more sleep!!!) :)
You may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging here lately. It's not that I've been lazy, or been so so busy. Nope. I wish that were the case. The truth is, I'm running on empty. This precious little face? Yeah, not sleeping.
Now, part of the problem is, he's sick. He caught a cold from big sister, which means the whole household has been sick. Mark has been away in Australia this week, and my mom is here visiting, but schedules and routines have been off, Riley has been out of sorts, and Jackson has just flat out not been sleeping. He wakes up so many times a night I can't even count. And eventually, the only way I can get him to sleep is to bring him in my bed, swaddle him, prop him up slightly with a pillow, put other pillows around him so he doesn't roll, and have one of my arms on top of him sort of pinning him down. Yeah. I celebrated because last night he slept for two whole hours in a row without waking up. Usually we're up every 15-45 minutes all night long. I'll get more into the specifics of his night wakings and problems we're facing a bit later when I can actually see and think properly and not feel like I'm going to keel over in exhaustion by 8pm. And sadly, I've barely even picked up my camera this week. :( But not to worry, tomorrow Mark gets home (hooray!!!) and Jack Jack turns five months old, so we've got a little photo shoot planned (depending on the little man's mood, health, and cooperation, of course). Until then, I leave you with this:
He may be sleepless, but he sure is the cutest, sweetest little guy during the day.