Day in the Life – 7.5 Months

Here was our day yesterday – it was an interesting one….

We’ve fallen into a general pattern of staying home (apart from walks) about one day a week, running errands a couple of days, and doing things just for fun a couple of days.  This was a just for fun day.

James slept really well last night (or so I thought…), waking up at 4:30 to eat, but otherwise sleeping soundly.  I used to always get up for the day if he woke up around 4-5 to eat, but I’ve been really tired and decided to go back to bed.  I get up for real just before 6.

I eat oatmeal and drink coffee (delicious cold brew from Trader Joe’s – this stuff is SO good) while working on blog posts.  James wakes up at 6:45 and I go get him at 7:00.  I find him playing in front of his mirror when I go in.

I change his diaper, nurse him, and put his toys on his shelf so that he can play.  I’ve started putting his toys up at night to minimize distractions from sleep since he can now easily get out of his floor bed.

I thought James slept well, but he is pretty grumpy and seems tired this morning so I suspect he was quietly awake for a while, just not fussing or making noise.

He started army crawling last week and zips around his room.  He crawls back into bed for the first time this morning – I’m glad to know he can do this now since he’s been able to get out of bed, but not back in, for a while now.

At around 7:30, we go in to see his Dad – always a happy time.  I take a shower and make James’s breakfast while he plays with his Dad.

James eats baby oatmeal mixed with applesauce, coconut oil, cinnamon, chia and hemp seeds, and wild blueberries.  I used to think he didn’t really like breakfast until I started giving him this concoction, which he LOVES.

He usually finishes it, but is still seeming tired and is not that into it this morning.

James plays on a blanket nearby while I clean up his breakfast and then we go play outside in the backyard.  Now that the days are getting hot (already!), I’m trying to get outside with him in the mornings more when it’s still pleasant out.

Being outside seems to calm him down and he plays and explores quietly until it’s time to go inside and get ready for a nap.

We read The Runaway Bunny and I sing him a song and put him in his bed for nap time around 9:00 AM.  He gets out of his bed twice and I go in to put him back without any words or eye contact.  He then settles down and goes to sleep.

I get dressed, get a second cup of coffee, work on this post, steam some green beans for James, and load the dishwasher while he naps.

James woke up a little before ten after sleeping for around 40 minutes.  I know this is not enough sleep for him considering how tired he was all morning, so I try to help him fall back to sleep.  This works sometimes, but not today!

I change his diaper and nurse him and we get ready to go meet some friends at the Wildflower Center.  This is where things got interesting…

We were in the car ready to go, but the car wouldn’t start.  It just made a bunch if clicking noises and flashed a bunch of lights.  Change of plans.

This was disappointing, but luckily my husband was working from home today, so he could take a look at it (I know nothing about cars).  Even though he was home, we share a car since he bikes to work, so we were still stranded.

James played in his room for a bit, still tired and grumpy, but holding it together.  I then made him lunch.  Today he had green beans, whole wheat pita bread with olive oil, and red lentils cooked with ginger, red onion, and coconut milk.  These are all things he likes, but he didn’t eat too much today.  I knew this might happen since he was tired, but thought I’d at least try.

After lunch, we went for a stroller walk around the neighborhood.   As you can see, he was thrilled 😉

I listened to Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child on Audible, but soon realized it was making me feel really depressed that James has been napping so poorly, so I turned it off and listened to Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman instead.  I mostly kept thinking about naps though and now have no clue what is going in the book.

After we got home, one of my husband’s friends came and jumped our car.  My husband then took it to an auto shop and it turned out it needed a new battery.  I’m glad it was an easy fix.

James played a little more and then I read him a story and sang him a song and put him in bed for nap # 2.  He doesn’t get out of bed at all this time and passes out almost immediately.

While James naps, I work on this post and eat lunch – leftovers of this delicious pasta salad (we used half chickpea pasta, goat cheese instead of feta, and added chicken and basil – so good!) and some cherries.  Then I waited anxiously to see if James would take a good nap….(spoiler alert: no, no he would not).

James woke up right at 1:30.  Honestly, this was really discouraging, but I tried to rally and enjoy more play time with him.  He was actually in a surprisingly good mood, but was still tired, and took another nap at 3:00.

I prepped his dinner and did stuff around the house while he slept.  He slept a record 24 minutes….

I sat outside with James for a little bit and then gave him an early dinner.

He ate ground beef with onions and tomatoes, avocado slices rolled in hemp seeds (to make them less slippery), green beans, and pear slices.

He ate surprisingly well considering how over-tired he was by this point.

He had a little more play time, then a bath, and a super early bedtime.  Hopefully this extra sleep will help him be more rested tomorrow!

I’m so happy my husband got the car fixed earlier today because I had dinner plans with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  This was actually the first time I went out to dinner without the little guy since he was born.  It may be time to find a babysitter!

It was a great, much needed end to a kind of rough day.  On days like this though, I try to remember that even the hardest days with James are so good and so worth it.  Here’s to a better tomorrow!

What was the best part of your day yesterday?

What was the hardest part?

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The Weekend We Celebrated All the Things

Good morning!

We are back from our whirlwind weekend in Houston, feeling a little exhausted and very happy.

It was a weekend full of celebrations.

We left Austin in the late afternoon on Friday.  We hit a ton of traffic, but eventually made it, all in good spirits.

We only give James a pacifier on road trips, so I always have to snap a picture because I think he looks so cute 🙂

I must say though, I’m driving back to Houston next week without my husband and I am not looking forward to doing the drive alone with James.  He did pretty well, but definitely required a steady stream of toys / distractions to keep it together in the car for three hours.  Oh well, it will be worth it!

We got to Houston in time for little James to do a little light reading and play with his grandparents a little before going to bed.

Saturday we celebrated my little brother’s (also named James) birthday.  He flew in from Chicago for the occasion.  I hadn’t seen him since Christmas, it was so great to catch up!  I totally failed to take pictures, but we went out for a great, long lunch at an Italian place called Giacomo’s.

My husband then took James home for a nap so that I could go shopping with my mom, sister, and brother for some things for my sister’s wedding – so fun!  We went to BHLDN, a store owned by Anthropologie that specializes in wedding dresses, accessories, and decor…so many pretty things.

I did not get much sleep Saturday night, but woke up excited to celebrate James’s baptism Sunday morning!  It made for a very special first mother’s day for me and it meant so much to me to have my whole family there with us.

I want to re-dress James in his little outfit soon to get some better pictures.  We had to rush to the church right after he woke up from a nap and he was really ready to go by the time the service was over.  I think it’s safe to say his favorite part of his outfit was the bow tie.

We went back to my parents’ house for brunch while James took one more nap before we hit the road.  It was such a quick trip, but so, so fun.  And it wasn’t too sad saying goodbye since I’m going back in less than a week!

Do you live close to your family?

What was the best part of your weekend?

 

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Thanks Mama

Good morning and happy Friday!

We are busy getting ready to head to Houston for the weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day, my brother’s birthday, and James’s baptism…should be a busy and fun weekend!

Before returning to packing though, I wanted to stop in and say happy Mother’s Day.

Funny story – when I was signing into the hospital to have James, I had to fill out a few forms even though I had pre-registered.  I don’t really remember what they were for, but one of them required a parent signature.  I was super annoyed – why do I need a parent signature, I’m 30 and about to have a freaking baby?  Oh, right.  I was the parent.  They wanted my signature.  Whoops….

All this to say, I still kind of forget that I’m a parent half of the time.  To me Mother’s Day is still very much about celebrating my own mother, as it should be!

So I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to my Mom, the very best mom I could wish for.

Thank you for being completely unselfish.  Always.  I am honestly much more selfish than my mom and I worry about that sometimes.

Thank you for driving us all over town to whatever activity / friend’s house we wanted to go to and never making it seem like a burden.

Thank you for making everyday things fun and for always making time for us.

Thank you for always taking my side, no questions asked.

Thank you for making me feel like what I had to say was important and interesting, even when I was small.

Thank you for answering the phone to talk to me no matter what you’re doing.

Thank you for putting up with me as a teenager.

Thank you for showing so much love to little baby James.

Thank you for showing me how to be a mom.

Do you have any fun plans for Mother’s Day?

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What is the role of a parent?

There are a lot of things I want to be for my child.

Above all, I want to be a loving, safe place for him where he always feels welcome and knows he can be himself.

I want to be someone who challenges him to push himself, to not give into his fears, and to always strive for his best.

I want to be the person hugging him, or sitting quietly by his side, when his best falls short.

I want to be a scientist, always observing him so that I can know him better and know what he needs.

I want to be an architect, shaping his environment so that it offers him a place to thrive and grow.

I want to be a librarian, reading to him for hours on end and planting the seed for a love of books.

I want to be his travel agent, planning adventures near and far to open his eyes to the world.

I want to be an explorer, discovering whatever worlds his yet to be determined interests lead me to, so we have common ground.

I want to be his chef, cooking him healthy meals and baking cookies with him on a Sunday afternoon.

There is one thing though that I do not want to be: I do not want to be an entertainer, making sure he’s always occupied, never bored, constantly engaged in something fun or “educational”.

I believe that boredom is needed for creativity, that quiet times of nothingness are where imagination sparks and ideas are born.  I believe that the ability to entertain yourself is a life skill, one that is falling away now that we have constant entertainment in our pockets.

So while I of course play with him, after all I’m his only available playmate most of the time, I don’t interact with him 100% of the time he’s awake.  I look for those moments when he’s inside his own head and I sit quietly while he entertains himself.

I watch as the time he can do this stretches and I hope it serves him well as he grows.  I watch as he discovers shadows on the floor and tries to capture them.  I watch as he stares at his reflection in the mirror and watches himself move.  I watch as he stares out the window at the beautiful world, captivated by the leaves dancing in the wind.

I watch as he starts to get frustrated or want attention, and then I watch a little bit longer, until it’s a little uncomfortable, walking that line so that he knows – he doesn’t need me to entertain him.

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Being Present and Some Modern Art

I have a tendency to be overly sentimental about time passing.  I think I started worrying about getting old when I was about 15.  I was not one of those kids who wanted to grow up; I knew being a kid was where it’s at.

Anyway, I spend a lot of time fondly remembering (romanticizing?) the past and wondering what the future will be like.  I am not always great about being in the moment.

When I stop to think about it though, this time, this particular moment, is definitely one I will be remembering fondly some day.  This is an especially enjoyable stage of life and I’m going to really try to stay focused on that and not worry too much about what’s to come.  Any tips?

James is at a really fun stage where he is still largely accepting of anywhere we take him, but has long enough stretches of awake time that we can really go do stuff.  It’s pretty great.

Saturday was one of the most relaxing days I can remember since he was born.  I read outside in the morning with a giant cup of coffee, and I read at night before bed with a glass of red wine.  The in between parts were pretty great too.

James took two, hour-plus naps.  I only did one productive thing during these naps (made James some healthified zucchini bread), and spent the rest of the time reading.  Sure, this was vaguely irresponsible, but so, so worth it.

We also went on a little adventure.  One of my goals for the month is to go somewhere new every week.  When looking for places to go, I came upon this excellent list of baby / toddler friendly places in Austin.  A bunch of them look great, but the first one to call my name was the sculpture garden at The Contemporary.  I’m glad I listened.

So I feel kind of like an idiot for not knowing this place existed, but it was super uncrowded even on a sunny Saturday, so maybe it’s not that well known?  I don’t know.  Anyway, Austin’s modern art museum apparently has a couple of satelite locations, one of which is an art school with a large, woodsy sculpture garden.  There are also indoor exhibits, but we didn’t do that part this time.

This is not a big open garden, but rather consists of little winding trails through the woods and along Lake Austin where you’ll be walking and then discover a big sculpture.

I think it’s the feeling of exploring and discovery that make this place particularly delightful.  It reminded me of a time my freshman year of college where I went to the National Cathedral at night with some new friends – totally different place, but it gave me the same feeling of entering a different world.

For those familiar with Austin, this place is right by Mount Bonnell.  I highly recommend it if you feel like wandering, contemplating, or staring off into space and looking like you have a purpose.

As a bonus, it was right next to a great looking park and nature preserve that may be next on my list of new places!  It has a peacock crossing so that has to be a good sign.

Thanks to my husband for many of the pictures in this post 🙂

What was the best part of your weekend?

Do you ever play tourist in your own city?

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Baby Led Weaning Update – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Good morning and happy Friday!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a month since James has started eating solid foods.  It’s become such a part of our daily routine and he’s become so much better at it, I can barely imagine our day without it.

Overall, I’ve been a huge fan of baby led weaning (BLW), or really the hybrid approach we’ve taken (James eats with a spoon too – I put the food on the spoon, and he holds the spoon / puts the food in his mouth).  Here’s a little bit about our experience so far.

The Good

Fun: I’m sure feeding baby any way is fun, but I am seriously loving meal times with little James!  He gets this extremely serious look every time I bring him to his chair.  He eats so eagerly unless he is tired, and has started making little “mmm” noises, it’s just too much 🙂

Same meals: While, as I mentioned, we don’t often eat dinner together at this point due to timing, it’s getting to the point where I can sometimes give James some of what we had for dinner the next day for his meals.  I just put aside a portion before adding salt / anything else he can’t have.  I know this will be more and more true as he continues to try more foods and I love the convenience of it.

Social Eating: I love that I’m able to sit across from him and eat with him or chat with him while he eats since I’m not focused on getting a spoon in his mouth.  I like being able to model table manners and how to have a conversation.  I think these things are best taught by modeling, so might as well start young!  Along these same lines, I love that there is usually something we can offer him (sometimes just avocado) if we go out to lunch.

Fine Motor Skills: I can’t believe how much James’s ability to use his fingers to pick up small things has grown this past month.  I’m sure some of this is just due to his developmental stage, but I think part of it is also due to BLW because, apart from food, it’s hard to give babies opportunities to develop these skills since they want to put everything in their mouth and many tiny objects are unsafe.

He currently uses his thumb and two fingers to pick up little bits of food.  They don’t always make it into his mouth, but it’s amazing to watch him concentrate on picking them up and holding them steady.

Drinking from a Glass:  This is a little random, but watching James drink from his tiny glass (a shot glass from Ikea) has become a favorite pastime in our house.  I think it’s pretty much the cutest thing in the world.  When I first gave him the glass a month ago, it seemed like he would never be able to use it on his own, but just in the last week or so, he’s become so proficient with it.  He still spills of course, but is able to successfully hold the glass on his own and drink from it – and he loves it!

I did three things to help him with this skill:

1. I sit across from him and model drinking from a glass, holding it with two hands, before giving him his.

2. I hold his glass out to him, with my fingers on the very bottom so there’s plenty of room for his little hands.  When I just put the glass on the table, he knocks it over, but he can take it from me with great success.

3. Lastly, I started holding the glass up a little, by his nose, so he would lean his head back when he drank.  He’s still practicing this, but it has helped him actually drink the water instead of just blowing bubbles in it or sticking his tongue in the glass.  Now that he can use his glass, I’m excited to make him a smoothie soon!  Just in time for summer.

The Bad

Food waste: This is absolutely the number one downside we’ve seen.  It makes me sad to see all of the food that goes onto the floor and can’t be eaten.

I do try to minimize this in a few ways.  With something like a fried egg or pancake, where I could just hand him the whole thing, I cut it into strips.  This way I can put one strip at a time on his tray and if he drops it, the whole thing hasn’t gone to waste.  In generally, I only put a couple of pieces of food on his tray or placemat at once, usually one of each thing he is eating, so he can choose.  I think this helps him concentrate on picking up a specific piece of food instead of just swiping around aimlessly and knocking food onto the floor.

The Ugly

Mess: Ohhhhh the mess, my friends.  This depends on the day and what he is eating, but especially if he’s using his spoon for something like avocado or oatmeal, he is usually covered in food by the end, not to mention the chair and the floor.

As my friend Natalie wrote here, I do not think mess is a bad thing.  Mess is part of the process and I involve James in the only way I can right now – showing him and talking to him about how we clean up after eating.  As he gets older, I’ll involve him more as he becomes more capable of helping.  But despite the beauty and learning opportunities of a big mess, it can be a little tiresome at times 🙂

Fortunately though, there are plenty of foods I can offer him that are less messy (pancakes, banana, zucchini, egg, etc.), so I sometimes group messy foods together at one meal so, for instance, lunch cleanup will be super easy and dinner will require a more thorough effort.  He loves oatmeal for breakfast though, so breakfast is always super messy.

Gagging: I had read that gagging is a normal part of baby learning to eat, but it still terrifies me every time it happens.  Babies’ gag reflexes are further up on their tongues at this age to protect them from choking, which makes gagging happen more frequently.  From what I’ve read, this is a safer time for them to learn to eat finger foods because of this extra protection…but it’s still not fun to watch!  James has only ever gotten upset at all by this once though.  He normally just spits the offending food out and keeps on eating.

I’ll probably post soon on our experience with the weaning chair versus a high chair and on Jame’s favorite meals so far.  Let me know if you have any other questions about baby led weaning!

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Things Making Me Happy

Happy Wednesday!  It’s been a great few weeks over here and I just wanted to share a few things that are making me happy lately.

Neighborhood Park

We found a new park close to our neighborhood last week and I am loving it!  It has a paved trail as well as a much longer unpaved trail, a playground with sun shades, baby swings, a splash pad, and a pool.

I took James there last Friday and we had such a good time!

A road runner, off to play tennis!

I often miss our old neighborhood where we could walk to everything, including some really nice trails, but I admit that it was great to be in a nice park without the crowds of where we used to live (right by Zilker).  Because there are fewer people, we also see more animals, like road runners and rabbits.

New Mom Friends

Before having James, none of my friends had babies.  I’m pretty shy and introverted, so wasn’t sure I’d really make any new mom friends.  Thanks to the library though, I’ve met a couple of super nice women with babies almost the same age as James and it is so fun to have people who don’t mind talking endlessly about baby sleep and who can hang out and do baby-friendly things in the middle of a week day.  I feel so lucky to have met them!

Baby Brunch

I made James pancakes last Saturday and it made me so happy 🙂  I used this recipe and it was easy, healthy, delicious, and made a ton so I have a bunch of extras in the freezer.  I spread James’s pancakes with a little coconut oil and sprinkled with cinnamon.  I think this recipe would be easy to play around with and I’ll probably try a pumpkin or zucchini version soon.

It was fun to make something we could all eat together and to think that this was the first of likely countless times that we’ll enjoy a pancake breakfast together.  Also, I think the leftovers would be a great portable snack for James to bring to the park or something since they hold together well and are not very messy.

Front-facing Carrier

I really try not to buy all the baby things.  We did splurge on a new baby carrier last weekend though and it is making me happy.

James is super independent and wants to be moving around ALL the time.  I love this about him, but it can make it harder to take him places.  We have this Ergo and K’tan, but he’s never loved them and his disdain for them has grown now that he’s more and more mobile.  However, when we tried him in the K’tan facing forward, he got so happy!

Sadly, our Ergo did not allow baby to face forward and I really prefer the more structured carriers, especially now that James is getting heavier.  My friend Laura recommended the Ergo 360 to me and we are loving it so far!  I still don’t think James would be content to be in there for hours, but I’d settle for a happy baby while I grocery shop for 30 minutes or walk for an hour 🙂  I also love that this one has a lot less fabric on the sides than my original Ergo, so it’s less hot, which is important in Texas!

Stroller Running

We have the BOB Revolution running stroller (generously given to us by my parents – thank you!) and I finally tried running with it last week.  I had read that I could start running with baby once he was 6-8 months old and had great head control.  He just turned 7 months and has had good head control for months, so I decided to give it a try.

It was SO much more fun than I thought it would be.  I’ve always hated running with a lot of stuff – holding a water bottle, weighed down by winter clothes, etc.  That’s how I pictured stroller running would feel.  It wasn’t that way at all though, it felt great.  Sure, it was a little more challenging than running without the stroller, but since James is usually only happy in there for 30-40 minutes anyway, the added challenge is no big deal.

This will let me run outside more instead of the treadmill, and also get a workout in when James is awake so I get do something else during nap time.  I’m very excited about it!

This Guy

Always.  He has been so happy, talkative, and FUN lately.  He’s the best.

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May Goals

I have to say, typing out my goals for April made such a difference!  Instead of a bunch of vague, fuzzy stuff in my head that I wanted to accomplish, I had a very manageable list.  I definitely plan to keep doing this in the future.

First, a recap of April’s goals:

Conceptualize Playroom: Check!  I now have a very clear vision of what I want James’s playroom to look like.  I’ve mostly cleared out the office, and have purchased about half of what we need.  I just need to get a shelf, rug, and picture frames.  I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to buy, but I want to finish cleaning out the office before I actually buy it.

I’m most excited about the reading nook I have planned!  I already got this canopy and soft rug for it.

Prepare Garden Beds: This was the only one that was a big time failure…oops.  I didn’t even start doing this, and I’m honestly not at all confident that it will happen this month either.  I did acquire a few pretty potted plants for the back patio, and may just settle for that for now.

Make Family Dinners: Check!  This was mostly a success.  I did much more meal planning / cooking this month and found a few new staple meals that are very quick and easy, reasonably healthy, and taste good!

We did not really eat a lot of family dinners with James though, and I now realize we probably won’t for a while.  Because of his early bedtime, he usually eats around 5:00.  I honestly don’t really want to eat dinner that early, but also, my husband isn’t usually home by then.  For now, I’m settling for eating a snack with James while he eats, and will make an effort to eat lunch with him.

Watch Less TV: Check!  This may be the one that made me the happiest.  I finished watching West Wing and did not start a new tv series (until this past weekend…oops).  I occasionally watched a movie, but not being in the middle of a series I love meant that watching tv was not my go-to activity for the night.  I may designate one night a week as tv night or something, I’m not really sure.

Okay, on to May’s Goals!

Read More: This is my number one goal this month.  It’s already started to happen naturally because I haven’t been watching much tv.  I love to read and want to really get back into the habit of reading regularly.

Write More: I’ve never had any talent for (or really enjoyed) most artistic activities, but I’ve always loved to write.  I have a couple of writing projects that I’ve started, but haven’t worked on in a while.  There is one in particular I’m hoping to finish this month.  It’s a children’s book for James.  I know it will likely never be published, but I plan to print it with Pinhole Press, which lets you print your own board books, to give to him.

Go Somewhere New Every Week: It is so fun to take James out these days.  He is super friendly and smiley and seems to really enjoy getting out.  We go somewhere almost every day now, but I am definitely a creature of habit and we often go to the same few places.  We just moved to South Austin right before James was born, so I am still discovering the area.  I’m looking forward to taking James to new places this month, even if it’s just a different park or library of coffee shop.

Wear Sunscreen: I wear sunscreen when I go to the beach or know I’ll be outside all day, but I am not good about wearing it every day.  With the amount of time I spend outside, I know I should be doing this.  I want to finally make this part of my daily routine this month.

What are your goals this month?

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James at 7 Months

As of yesterday, out little guy is officially seven months…decidedly over the hill toward the one year mark 🙁

It has been a challenging, but very fun month.  We got out to explore more than ever and spent tons of quality time with family, the best!  We also enjoyed some truly beautiful weather and spent many hours out in the sunshine.

Here’s a little bit about what life looks like with James at 7 months:

Eating

I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me her daughter (one month older than James) takes around an hour to eat, taking tiny bites.  I had to laugh because that is so opposite of James.  He shoves literally as much food as will fit into his mouth.  He eats enthusiastically for about 15 minutes and then is DONE.  He will start banging on the table and straining to get up.

He’s currently eating three times a day, but is sometimes not that into breakfast.  Some days I feel like he eats almost as much as I do and some days he eats barely anything.  I’m just following his lead on how much he wants.

His favorite foods right now seem to be sweet potatoes, pear, watermelon, and fried egg yolks.  He does not seem to care much for lentils, but will eat some if they’re mixed with avocado or spread on sweet potato slices.  I’m planning to make him pancakes this weekend, which I’m excited about!  His meal times are still one of my favorite parts of the day.

Gross Motor

If I had to characterize this month in one word, it would be MOVEMENT.  James is not yet crawling, but he is 100% mobile and can roll across the room in a flash.

In addition to speed, he’s come a long way in being able to get to precisely where he wants to go.

He is an expert at pivoting his body so that he can roll in the desired direction.  He still prefers to roll in one direction though (to his left if he’s on his back), but this doesn’t slow him down much.

I’m curious to see if he will actually crawl since he’s so mobile already with just rolling, I’m not sure if the motivation / need will be there.

He still resists sitting unless he’s at story time or something super interesting is happening in front of him (such as cars driving down the street….)  He does fine sitting in his chair to eat though.  I think he’s just more interested in being on the move these days.

Fine Motor

I will write more about baby led weaning soon,  but one thing I love about it is the impact it’s had on James’s fine motor skills.  His ability to use his fingers, rather than his whole hand, to pick things up has grown dramatically in the past month.  If he sees a little piece of one of his favorite foods, he gets a look of intense concentration and uses his chubby little fingers to pick it up and bring it to his mouth, almost in slow motion.  You can see all of the effort it takes.  What could be more motivating than tasty food?

He is also more and more able to manipulate objects in his hands to get a desired part into his mouth (whether it’s food or not….)

Sleep

Sleep has definitely been a challenge this month.  I honestly don’t have the energy to talk about it too much right now and my thoughts are all over the place.  Suffice it to say we’re working on getting naps back to a reasonable length (he’s actually taking a nice long one as I type, hooray!).

We’re also working with helping James fall asleep now that he’s realized he can get out of his floor bed.  This just started this week so we’re still adjusting to this and figuring out the best strategy.  I will definitely post a floor bed update once we figure out what works best for him and our family.

Personality

Seven words for seven months: joyful, energetic, curious, independent, friendly, determined, loved.

I know I mentioned that James went through a couple of weeks of feeling really grumpy, but thankfully he is back to his happy self.  At the time, I thought his mood was due to short naps, but he is so happy again even though his naps are often still short.  I now think it was likely due to all of the developmental leaps and changes he was going through (becoming mobile and learning to eat solid foods mainly).  Change makes me grumpy too; I get it little dude.

He has been really cheerful the last couple of weeks though and this age is equally sweet and hilarious.

He loves being outside, playing silly games with his Dad, and EXPLORING.  He likes toys, but I think he likes exploring the house just as much, which I love.  He also likes sneezing – he always gets a big smile on his face after he sneezes, which I find hilarious.

He went in a baby swing for the first time the other day and LOVED it.  He was laughing and smiling so big.

He also loves story time.  I originally started going to story time at the library mainly for myself, to meet other moms with babies, but he now gets so excited when we’re there, grinning with his signature tongue-out smile the whole time.  He seems to like going out in general more than he used to, as long as he can move around some while we’re out and not be cooped up in a carrier or stroller the whole time.  It has been so nice to get out more this month.

James used to sometimes burst into tears if a stranger came over or if he was surrounded by too many people, but he has been so friendly lately.  He gives huge smiles to strangers we see when we’re out and talks up a storm.

Speaking of talking, he has started saying “mama”.  I honestly have no idea if he’s using this to refer to me though, or just saying the sounds, so I’m not sure if this counts as his first word?  How can I tell?

He also continues to love bath time, and for some reason, particularly loves the time right after he gets out of the bath and before he gets ready for bed.  He becomes giddy and ridiculously happy at this time, but still easily settles down when it’s time for bed.

It has been so much fun to see his big personality emerge more and more this month.  I’m excited to see what the next month brings!

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Throwback Thursday 2 – Childhood Memories: Pretending

Or, as Albert Einstein put it, “Play is the highest form of research”.

I read something recently that was so sweet it was heartbreaking to me.  It was about how you don’t really know the last time you’ll hold your child.  One day you’ll be carrying him along and not thinking about it and the next he’ll just be running around and not needing you in that way anymore.

That got me thinking, we don’t really know the last time we’ll do lots of things, and often don’t remember those “lasts”.

I don’t know if it’s the last time I played a pretend game as a child, but I have the clearest memory of playing an imaginary game outside with my friends in fourth grade.  It’s the last time like this that I have a memory of.

We were on a school trip to Crow Canyon Archeological Center in Colorado.  We were learning all about Native American tribes who had lived there and about how archeologists discover artifacts.  We also had free time to just explore and play.

I don’t remember there being any playground, but there were plenty of wide open spaces, big rocks, and a little creek.  I remember it being a sunny day with a blue sky, and a bit of a chill in the air.  The stream was cold.  I was crouched down by the water and we were playing some pretend game about being Native Americans in the society we were learning about.  I remember being so, so happy.

Thinking about this reminds me of how “play” really is the work of children, of how we need to give them time and space free from toys and media to just explore and exercise their imaginations.  We were playing and having the best time, but we were also processing what we had been learning about, making it real in our minds.

Do you remember pretend games you played as a child?

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