We're 7 months into this deal. In case you haven't noticed, I've been making an effort to note the developmental advances he's made and record some of the things I want to remember about him at each monthly milestone. It's already fun and eye-opening to look back at how he has changed. I don't have a real baby book, so I'm sure one day I'll find some way to preserve these entries.
In addition to that skill, he's shown a lot of interest in pulling up. He tries to pull up on our dining room chairs, the couch, his crib, dresser, or changing table, and of course reaches for our kneecaps when we get close enough. He's gaining strength and confidence to make his limbs do what he wants them to.
Vocally, he's still a chatterbox when he gets going. He likes to repeat, "RaRaRaRaRa" among other things. He has taken to squealing/screaming/screeching/chirping really loud. So loud and repeatedly I sometimes want to apologize to our downstairs neighbors who have two babies. Usually the outbursts are with joy, but he sometimes uses them to express frustration. Like if he's sitting in his high chair while I get his food ready and he's getting impatient. One of the funniest things he does is clench his gums, open his eyes really wide and raise his eyebrows, and hold his breath while he turns red and clenches his fists. I have no idea what this is about... I think he just likes the look of bewilderment on my face when he does it.
Over Christmas I transitioned him back to 2 solids feedings a day. I know that what time of day he eats what doesn't matter to him, but I like giving him fruit and cereal in the morning and veggies in the evening (c: The fruits he has tried are just bananas and plain applesauce. He usually eats those with blended up oatmeal. It has taken longer than I thought it would, but he has come to love these. The veggies he has tried are carrots, green peas, green beans, acorn squash, broccoli, spinach, and most recently, avocado. I have some yellow squash in the fridge that he'll try next. When he tries something new, it's always with a grimace and a gag, at least on the first few bites. The only exception has been spinach. Surprisingly, he took to that like it was his everyday favorite from the first bite. He'll eat it cold, too (ew!).
This month I have finally managed to make myself stick to a schedule (mostly, anyway) when it comes to his sleep. I would have thought, knowing myself and how I like to make lists and schedules, that this would have happened on its own long ago. The problem is that even if things are going good, I have to wonder if a change would make it even better, so I change it up. And we get thrown off. So the past few weeks this is the schedule I've been keeping.
6:30-7am - His wakeup. If he wakes up earlier he has to stay in bed til then. If he is still asleep past 7:15 or so I wake him up. The vast majority of mornings he wakes around 7am though. I give him his medicine first thing.
8:00am - Nurse
8:30am - Fruit and Cereal
9:00am - Nap#1. Finally these are stretching out to be an hour or more.
11:30am - Nurse
1pm - Nap#2. Ideally, an hour or more. Unfortunately though this one is still often short (30min). I have been letting him cry for up to an hour. Once he went back to sleep for another 45 min. It's really frustrating when this one is short because a third nap comes at a really awkward time and can interfere with his bedtime.
3:00pm - Nurse
4pm - Variable Nap#3
6:00pm - Medicine
6:30pm - Nurse
7:00pm - Veggies
7:15pm - Bath
7:45pm - Nurse
8:00pm - Bedtime
Then he'll usually wake up around 2 or 3am for another feeding.
There are still improvements to be made. His naps are still too short, and his bedtime is still too late. This isn't just my opinion - short naps are indicative of over tiredness. His bedtime was earlier - we tried for over 2 weeks to get him to go to bed at 7. The problem was not getting him to sleep, it was getting him to stay asleep. But I know that those wakeups that came after the earlier bedtime are also an indication of not getting enough sleep. I know it sounds crazy. But babies his age need at least 14 hours of sleep, and he's only getting about 13 on good days. It doesn't sound like a big gap, but that hour or more that he doesn't get every day is what is causing the problems that we're having. Most people don't realize how much sleep babies actually need.
I found a Godsend, Weissbluth has a blog. While he can't answer all of the questions himself, there are a lot of moms on there who are extremely helpful.
Babies Declan's age who are successfully on the Weissbluth method go to bed before 6pm, have 1 or 2 wake ups for night feedings, sleep until 6-7am, and take 2-3 solid (1-2hr) naps per day. The bedtime is early, and yes, it does limit what we can do in the evenings a lot. Our church meets at night. We had determined a long time ago that Sunday nights would be an exception, a night where he could stay up later. But now I'm wanting to get back into doing the Women's Bible Study on Wednesday nights, as well as Zumba on Thursday nights. So it is a conflict.
I am having to remember a few principles. One is that it is important to protect the sleep schedule. Now that he's older, I don't have to be home all the time. The time between his 2nd nap (once he drops the 3rd nap) and bedtime will be a great time to get him out of the house, but we'll need to be back in time to get him in bed. The second principle is one that my Great Grandmother taught me - to give them the first year. As a mom, you really give them more than that, but it is helpful for staying strong and justifying your "strange behavior" to others when they don't understand why you don't want to go out after 6pm. I have been accused of "not living." That's not it at all. It's just that I am giving Declan the first year. I'm trying to set him up to be well-rested, comfortable, secure. I'm trying to give him good sleeping and eating habits that he will hopefully carry for the rest of his life.
Anyway, I have a small soapbox for this. Maybe I'll express myself fully in another entry. For now, my little boy is asleep and I should be too. Goodnight (c: