Thursday, March 6, 2014

Parenting Musings: Baby Led Weaning, Weird Baby Books and More

My baby is growing so fast. Sometimes I look at him and I just want to cradle him up in my arms and make him forever stay the age he is.   He is growing everyday and when I see him hit a new milestone, I am floored by both my pride and joy in it, and my grief that he is no longer an infant. Someone told me to treasure that infant stage because it went so fast, and they were right - it was gone in a blink.  Now we have a roly-poly baby who has a very clear and strong personality, with big expressive eyes and big baby laughs.

*Rolling with Daddy*

This boy wants to move! He wants to squiggle and explore. He wants to learn new things and hit new physical milestones.  He wants to put everything in the world in his mouth. Thankfully, he still wants to cuddle, and when he does, I am so thankful for this little piece of perfection here on earth.  I smell his lavender hair or his sweaty, salty baby feet and I give thanks for the pirveledge of being a parent.

As he grows, we too, as parents have experienced new milestones. Not all are glamorous.

*Like pouty/over-tired face. *

We are learning about baby-led weaning. My friend Katie wrote a great blog about it, and I was inspired that this would work for us.  So far it is, but like anything about parenting, no two babies are the same.  LittleM has two little teeth on the bottom and is very good at biting off large chunks of whatever he is eating and then choking/gagging on it.  Needless to say, this scares the absolute crap out of me, and after three times in a row with a banana and then with an apple, I decided no more of that.  Instead, we are focusing on still using natural foods, but in smaller bites. We are not being the "perfect baby-led parents" and that's okay.   This was my first encounter with feeling a small degree of parenting shame.  We still aren't doing baby food or cereals or any of that, but I'm also not handing my kid a corn cob or a hunk of meat or a giant carrot like my baby-led weaning book says I should, and that's okay.   We will work our way forward slowly.  So far LittleM has enjoyed: blueberries, raspberries, black beans, bananas (FAIL), apples (FAIL), cheese (feta and mozzerella), grapes (in a mash bag), sweet potato, avocado, banana squash, cucumber, and hummus.  This week he'll be trying zucinni, eggs and yogurt along with those other foods.  So far he loves everything, but his favorites are sweet potato, avocado, hummus and blueberries.

He loves music. I truly believe in that naive way that every parent believes their child is super gifted that LittleM is musically inclined.  He could care less about balls or throwing, but when you get out the guitar, he goes absolutely ballistic.  It entertains him for hours in the way that none of his other toys do.  When I sing to him, he is mesmrized.  He loves making sounds with anything that is not intended to make sounds.  But that guitar - oh man- when Ryan's dad played and sang for him, I thought the kid was going to faint.  The bad news is that I'm pretty sure that means that either Ryan or I is going to have to learn to actually PLAY the guitar.  It's not going to be long before he realizes that strumming and singing the song from Sound of Music is not actually playing. That will be a sad day for us. I'm glad our church has such a stellar music program because we're going to need it.

*Do you like my 12 month old winter SHORTS??* Also, please ignore the mess in the background, it's not always there. Okay, it was there for like a month, but it's gone now.*

I have to ask that - is everyone's kid a giant??  None of the clothing sizes have ever fit our son in the right time frame.  At 3 months, he was wearing 6 months.  At six months, he is wearing 9-12.  Now he's rounding out the 12 month clothes.  His percentiles aren't off the charts, and I've heard that most kids are like this, which leads me to ask: what is up with the children's clothing companies?? Have they never met a baby?? Why are they assuming that a 9 month old is roughly the size of peanut? I feel like this is a national conspiracy to get us to buy new clothing.  Well, the joke is on them because all our clothes are hand-me-downs from two awesome Katie's and we've literally had to buy like a hat and a coat and that's it.

*Sticking out our tongue is our favorite thing ever. EVER.*

We got through the separation anxiety by the skin of our teeth.  We were pretty strict with the sleeping schedule when LittleM was a baby. We used an awesome book called "12 hours by 12 weeks" and it pretty much worked just as it promised.  Other than the occasional sprint to the nursery to stick in a lost pacifier, LittleM sleeps from 7 to 7.  Until last week.  Then, something changed. We weren't sure what it was, but suddenly, he didn't want to sleep. At all.  When we left the room, he would scream hysterically. He wouldn't settle down. This was from a baby who sleeps beautifully and always has. It wasn't teething. It wasn't hunger or a wet diaper. It was just bloody murder screams, until we would go in and comfort him. As soon as he saw us, the crying would stop. Let me just tell you, from the trenches: there is nothing more heartbreaking than picking up a baby who is screaming and all he wants is you, you, and more you. He is all sweaty and bent out of shape and just clutches to you so desperately and you are all he needs in the world and WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS WAS SO HARD???   All you want to do is comfort and hold your child ALL NIGHT LONG, which isn't the most rational decision, and one that will hurt both of you in the long run.  It's even harder when you try to put him down because as a human being you need sleep and then he screams some more and you feel like you are traumatizing him by leaving again, breaking his little heart all over again.  This went on for four terrible nights, four nights of Ryan and I pacing, arguing at 2am about what we should do, Googling "crying it out and psychological scarring" at 4am, and one time having cereal and just staring at each other in defeated weariness as our baby yelled for us again and again.  Finally, on the 5th night we committed to a plan. (After I had a good heart to heart with the ever wise Nicole about the whole situation.)  We took the monitor downstairs, turned on House of Cards and said we would do 5 minute growing intervals (5 minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but in baby screaming time it's an eternity) until he was done.  We hit the 15 minute mark and then...silence.  He was awake and moving, but not screaming. He stared into the darkness for about 10 minutes and then finally, and brilliantly, surrendered. That night he slept hard. So did we.  And ever since then, we haven't had a problem.   And guess what? He was the same baby in the morning. The only emotional scarring was to his parents.

*Hanging out at the library is the COOLEST.*

My final parenting thought for this late night blog: Baby books are weird.  Some of them are fantastic, and some of them are super weird and only three pages long.  In our baby animals book, there is a picture of a full grown grizzly bear. It's like, cuddly lamb, puppy, colt,  BEAR THAT WANTS TO EAT YOUR FACE.  In another book, the author tries to rhyme the word food with the word good, and every time I read it, it completely throws me off. Pat the Bunny is a fun book but super creepy and I think the smelling page is about the worst thing ever. Smells like 50's perfume and weird aunts and family secrets. 

That's about all I had to report for now on the parenting side of things for tonight.

 Next up: on becoming a hermit and how your baby shockingly doesn't really care about your schedule and how it takes me 9 hours to get into the car.


Erika said...

OMG. 50s perfume and weird aunts and family secrets??!?!! DYING. Also: all the pictures of M also result in me dying. He is TOO CUTE, it just isn't fair. And there's no time like the present to start those guitar lessons!!

RoseRed said...

Little M is AMAZING!!! Sleep regressions suck and the Baby Sleep Site is very helpful. Take tons of pictures and never apologize for the mess in the background because when you look at those years from now, you won't care about that mess in the slightest. :)

Emily said...

My baby friend hardly even looks like a baby anymore. I'm gone only three months and now he's turning into a little boy. I can only imagine how you feel. Next time I see him he'll probably be walking. He is so cute and that pouty face is the best.

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