18 Months!

The dumpling is 18 months old! As of yesterday Wednesday. As you can see, I am awesome at this.

He did well at his check-up. He finally broke twenty pounds, that peanut, and while he is “behind” in communication, we were happy to announce that he learned two new words recently. All done as in I am ALL DONE with this empty bowl, mother, and shall hurl it off the table to demonstrate my all-done-ness and Wow as adorably exemplified this morning as he wandered around the kitchen going Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! at nothing in particular. His block towers, on the other hand, garner an extended Woow-ooah!

There are definitely quiet little moments that fill my heart with joy at this age. Just this morning, I knelt down for a hug to see him off to school and he just beamed at me as he toddled over, diving in for a hug. I then kissed Luffy goodbye and pulled back to see him (the dumpling) run back over, tongue hanging out, presumably for a kiss as well. He then barreled off in chase of Luffy and managed to run right into Luffy’s leg as he was putting on his shoes, like a cute little bumper car. Such an adorable moment.

There are moments that make us laugh, like when he sings in his crib (at the top of his lungs). There are moments that frustrate us, like when he burst a seam on his zippy at bedtime and was completely obsessed and angered by this, yet refused to take it off and then we got him in a new one, but he wouldn’t get over the other zippy and we eventually just gave him the damn zippy to take to bed with him like geez child. There are moments where we watch him figure something, like how to kick a ball, and other moments where he suddenly just knows how to do something, like open doors*. All of these moments, the good and bad and quiet and happy and trying, they all blend to create our every day now. A bit like being on a roller coaster, really, and one that I actually enjoy being on. Usually.

*Our house unfortunately has all lever style door handles, meaning they’re not that difficult for the average toddler to operate. Even more unfortunately for us, the dumpling is tall enough and smart enough and he gets up on his tippy, tippy toes and – BAM – you’re looking at your toddler’s face as you’re trying to pee. So much for privacy!

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Resurfacing

We’re alive!

Blurgh – those were a rough few days, but I think we’ve turned the corner (frantically knocks on wood).

Luffy ended up going to urgent care at like 7am last Friday morning because he needed help with that cough. He lost his voice, he coughed so much. They gave him a steroid shot and a stronger cough medicine. He’s still coughing, but I think it’s less? So yay?

I cried uncle Monday morning. My allergies gave way to a sinus infection, which left me with excruciating sinus pain all weekend (even WITH sudafed). The last straw was pink eye. I woke up Sunday morning with some crust in my eye, but groggily wiped it all away without really inspecting the damage. Monday morning though, I couldn’t even open my eye so off to the doctor I went. Sinus infection – check. Upper respiratory infection – check. Bacterial pink eye – check. Lots of medication. Twas fun. Especially because this antibiotic gets the medal for being the first ever to make me vomit. Yay!! (It’s one of those that’s supposed to be taken on an empty stomach except that I can’t handle that and need to take it with a few crackers.)

So now that we’re all on the mend, I have a few important updates to get to:


I bought the dumpling a play kitchen and it truly might be the cutest thing I have in my entire house (except the dumpling himself, obviously).

We had an old gift card to Toys R Us lying around and I realized that we should use it pretty quickly if we wanted to use it at all. I’d been eyeing a few play kitchens recently, wondering if the dumpling was old enough to enjoy them now, so I decided it was time. With gift card in hand, I purchased a cute set on Saturday night and was astounded to see it on my porch on Tuesday. I put it together immediately because I have no cool, though I did at least have the presence of mind not to show it to the dumpling until he actually had some time to play with it (our nights are pretty busy between our evening walks and his extended dinner time). This morning he got up early enough to have some time to play with it after breakfast and I’m pretty sure he loved it. He was excited to find all of the little hidey-holes and things-that-open and things-that-make-noise.


In more adorable news, the dumpling has started taking a stuffed animal with him to bed. It all started Sunday night; in a typical act of toddler stalling, the dumpling was requesting item after item from the bathroom counter. In trying to appease him (and stave off the meltdown), Luffy handed him the humidifier cap. The dumpling then refused to let go of it while we were dressing him and getting him ready for the night. So much so that we couldn’t get it away from him when we put him into his crib. What’s the harm, we thought and figured we’d sneak in to get it after he fell asleep. We watched on the monitor as he fell asleep, holding the cap with both hands. It was precious.

The next night, Luffy gave him a stuffed dog to take with him and the dumpling was delighted with the new cribmate. Plus, watching your toddler cuddle with a stuffed animal is about THE most precious thing you will ever witness.


One last item, just for me. Yesterday I wore my very smallest pre-pregnancy work slacks for the first time. Go me!

Life Data, pt 2

I’ve been a little obsessed with the last post. Oddly enough, this milestone seems monumental in ways that others have not. I keep opening the app, fiddling with the screens, looking at when the last updates were made to different modules. For instance, I last recorded a nursing session on October 31st, at 6:44am. It lasted just four minutes; he would fully wean himself just a few days later. My last recorded pumping session was October 9th at 8:28pm (which tells me I must have taught class, otherwise I’d never have pumped in the evening). I didn’t even update the session to include how many ounces I produced. Little bits and pieces of the dumpling’s data, there for me to review. As I was meandering through, I realized that I could export the data and my accountant-self got real happy. Without further ado, I present to you some numbers from the dumpling’s first 16 months of life:

Nursing:
– All total, we spent 23,765 minutes breastfeeding in twelve months. That’s a little over 396 hours or 16.5 DAYS.
– Our longest session was recorded was on February 4, 2017 at 57 minutes and I can tell that must have been an AWESOME day because the third longest session (at 41 minutes) is also from that day. Other than these two, most of the longest sessions were from the very early days (November and December 2016) and many of them occurred in the wee hours of the morning.
– The duration of each session generally shortens over time, with the 30+ minute sessions concentrated in his early weeks of life and the <5 minute sessions coming at the end as he grew out of nursing. There are a few exceptions though – for instance, a 28 minute session on the morning of October 7th, 2017 – that I hope I cherished as I got to spend an unexpected few extra minutes snuggling.

Pumping:
– All total, I spent 11,146 minutes pumping in eleven months. That’s 186 hours hooked up to a machine that I begrudgingly accepted.
– In those 186 hours, I produced 1,754 ounces of milk. That’s just under 55 quarts of milk or 14 gallons!
– To put those ounces produced into a bit more perspective though, the most I ever produced in one session was 9oz. The average pumping session yielded just 3.25oz and lasted 20 minutes.

Other fun highlights:
– In his first month of life, we changed 335 diapers.
– The longest recorded sleep was on January 13, 2017. He went to sleep at 7:15 Friday night and woke up at 8:30 the next morning. That was after his second full day at daycare. It also happened to be the day I decided I couldn’t take him back to that place.
– The dumpling has slept 12 hours or longer overnight just twenty times in his life. He averages about 9.5-10.5 hours right now.
– Our app has a note taking feature and I made some adorable notes about when he lost his umbilical stump (11/9/16), when he had his first real bath (11/12/16), and when he moved up to Size 1 diapers (12/11/16).
– As of his 15mo check-up, he’s gained just over 13lbs and grown 11.4in. 

And I’ll leave it on that note, as those are the only numbers that really matter, in the end.

 

Life’s Data

A week into the dumpling’s life, I downloaded one of those tracking apps for babies. If you are not a parent, you might not know these exist, but there are dozens of apps to help you track everything from nursing sessions to baths to sleep.

In the early days, the app was a life sanity saver. We’d show up to the pediatrician’s office for well baby visits and they would want to know how many wet diapers he’d had in the past 24 hours (answer without app: more than one, fewer than a fifty?? answer with app: seven) or how long he was nursing for on each side (answer without app: hmmm, awhile? answer with app: usually 8-12 minutes). The app was a fantastic reminder that the baby needs to eat again even though it totally feels like I just fed the baby. When he took multiple naps a day and we were firmly beholden to his max wake times, the app again proved invaluable in making sure we helped the dumpling get the sleep he needed. In other words, the app took much of the burden of keeping up with the dumpling’s ever changing schedule of needs, giving me the freedom to remember things like when was the last time I took a shower. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

So, for the past 16 months I have tracked the minute details of the dumpling’s life. Nursing. Then bottles. Then solid food. Naps, catnaps and crap naps and holy-crap-he’s-still-sleeping naps. Nighttime sleep, or lack thereof. Wet diapers, dirty diapers. Pumping sessions, both length and output. Everything that made up his day. Then, slowly, I started dropping one thing or another. I stopped entering his meals when he stopped nursing, for instance. I no longer needed to see how quickly my stash of breastmilk was being depleted, so entering his bottles (“6oz – formula”) felt unnecessary. And though our particular app does allow you to track solid food, trying to quantify how much food he was eating (“3.5oz – veggies”), seemed ridiculous, so I stopped. I was more than happy to stop tracking my pumping sessions – FAIR WELL PUMP! Around this time, I also stopped entering wet diapers. He was old enough that wet diaper output was no longer critically analyzed, thus there was no need to track that information. And so, piece by piece, I stopped recording his day until all that was left was sleep.

For the past week or so, I’ve found myself entering multiple days’ worth of sleep all at once. Trying to recall when, exactly, he went to sleep yesterday or woke up two days ago. All of a sudden, it hit me that I’m to that place again, where it no longer feels necessary to enter “Sleep – 7:25pm – 6:00am” each day. So I’ve stopped.

Why am I telling you about this, you might wonder. I’ll remove the links and widgets from my phone and will not make a note about when, exactly, the dumpling falls asleep tonight. Big deal.

Except it is, to me. My baby isn’t a baby any more. He’s growing so fast and so big. It no longer matters if he’s been awake for 60 minutes versus 70. It no longer means anything if he eats a little or a lot. The only concern I have about the state of his diaper is if it’s actively leaking and/or ridiculously full. And so, just another sunrise, sunsetthat’s all.

Shoes!

Shoes! Shoes people! I took the dumpling to Stride Rite this weekend to get him his very first pair of shoes. I mean, people gave us plenty of baby shoes. Crib shoes? I think that’s what they’re called. We had little moccasins and brand-name Uggs (who knew they even made baby shoes). We had little faux sneakers and cozy slippers. But I’ve never been one to accessorize and that’s exactly what all of those little baby shoes were – accessories. He didn’t need them to walk. He didn’t need them to keep his feet warm. I certainly didn’t want to have to deal with putting them on his feet and then checking every thirty seconds to make sure they were still on his feet. Pfft. The dumpling rocked socks or bare-feet for the first year of his life.

But. He’s walking now. Not completely unassisted, but well enough. Plus, we’ve reached the point that he knows he can walk, so you’ll be carrying him and he’ll stage dive out of your arms trying to get to the ground. Whelp, guess he’s gonna need some shoes.

We happen to have a Stride Rite store close to us and I took him there for a proper fitting. The salespeople were surprised by his shoe size. He was measuring 4.5, thus we were fitted for 5’s. I guess this is large for a fresh walker? To be fair, their beginner walker series only goes up to size 6, so maybe it is. Anyway – he did great there. They gave him a push toy to try out with his new shoes and he was exceedingly happy. We picked up a couple of pairs and then went to See’s Candy (wut? I’m totally picking up chocolate for my family who are coming into town…. just don’t mention anything if it’s all gone before they arrive) where he thought it was the BEST thing ever to get to walk around in public.

The next day, we did more walking at Target and the grocery store. We even let him out of the wagon along our regular walk and his unbridled enthusiasm was absolutely precious. He realized, after we let him take the lead, that he could stop everyone’s progress by squatting down to examine the sidewalk. Then he wanted to touch the mud. Then he took off at almost a run (remember, I’m holding his hand through this) and just laughed and laughed. Mama and dada also learned the lesson that perhaps we should wait until the end of the walk to let him out of the wagon since those tiny baby legs need like forty steps to Luffy’s one.

Toddler

I’m not sure what happened over the past week or so, but my dumpling suddenly looks more like a little boy than a baby. I can’t even pinpoint the change really because his little chubby cheeks are still there. As are his miles-long lashes. And his arm roll (yes singular, for my child is a string bean) and belly. His ham-bones are still nommable. And yet, when I look at him, I see a little toddler. He’s growing so much. Luffy took a picture of me holding a sleeping dumpling at the airport (on our flight there). I was shocked to see it and to see how big he looked laying on me.

He’s standing now, unassisted. He hasn’t quite figured out the walking (unassisted) thing yet, but he’ll merrily zoom around using a push toy. He cruises along the furniture, begging for food with his irresistible outreached hand. He points and gestures and emphasizes that he wants to go there and there and over there! He gives the best hugs now – have I told you? I’ve been saying for ages that he’s not a cuddler and all of a sudden he wants hugs. A few of nights ago, I sat down with him to listen to Luffy read to us and rather than bounce around, like he normally does, he turned into me and climbed up to rest his head on my shoulder. My heart swelled and I held him tightly, figuring it was a one time occurrence but he’s done it every night since.

He chuckles now, too. We’ve only ever known his laughs when we tickle him (which are hilarious because they’re silent until he can’t hold it in any longer and he just squeals), but now he’ll chuckle at things he finds amusing. A toy, Jas, his dada, whatever tickles his fancy.

We’re getting a glimpse (or should I say foreshadowing?) of the quintessential toddler tantrum – belly down, feet and fists pounding the floor. Except we’re also seeing his personality shine through. He’s far too cautious and careful to traditionally tantrum by throwing himself to the floor and beating it with his fists and feet. Rather, he delicately lowers himself down, and sort of flutters his feet and hands above the floor. While I assume that at some point he’ll hurtle himself down with all the potent fury a three-year-old can muster and I’ll groan because gah, right now it’s pretty darn cute.

He eats like a champ, when he’s hungry, chowing down on everything from cut-up grapes to whole crackers. His favorites are meat (chicken and pork in particular, though he loved Thanksgiving turkey) and clementines. He doesn’t seem to be a big fan of bread or bread-like things (muffins, pancakes, etc) or vegetables (to be fair here, he only has four teeth, it’s a little hard to enjoy most veggies with just four teeth), but he’ll happily put away some pizza. We make sure he gets his veggies via pouch and I was inordinately proud when he disliked a fruit-only pouch I tried to distract him with on the plane. I tried it myself, found it far too sweet and figured he did too. (Side tangent, it drives me crazy how difficult it is to find pouches (or baby food, for that matter) made of predominantly vegetables. Like, I don’t need help getting him to eat strawberries or bananas, I need help with green beans and broccoli! Whyyyyyy is this so challenging?) He’s a pro with pouches now and will come crawling for his Apple-Raspberry-Spinach-GreekYogurt-Oat or Banana-Kiwi-Kale-Barley-GreekYogurt. He likes to mix it up.

I didn’t really sit down to memorialize everything he’s doing now, but it’s so challenging when he’s so active and adorable. I realized the other day, scrolling through my photos, that we actually don’t have many photos of him now. Not stills anyways. We have videos. Mini clips of him doing something – eating with a spoon, standing, giving a hug, begging for food*, cruising with a push toy. In fact, most of the still shots I’ve captured of him recently are blurry as he was busy heading off to the next thing. It really put into perspective (a) how boring babies are initially and (b) how much he’s grown in just a year. I really can’t wait to see what he’ll learn next.

*We are firmly in the stage of what-are-you-eating-there-mom???? As soon as either Luffy or I sit down with a snack or meal, he must know and sample what we’re having. He’s also very good about asking for food. Apparently, he knows exactly where his puffs are kept at daycare and will routinely gesture up to the cabinet throughout the day, just to see if one of his teachers will succumb to the adorableness and give him some puffs.

Weaned

Today, November 10, 2017, my baby weaned himself.

Honestly, nursing has been so much of an afterthought lately that the milestone doesn’t really mean a whole lot, in terms of our day-to-day existence. Further, this was entirely baby-led, so I’m not even celebrating a hard-earned victory or anything like that. We’re simply closing that chapter in our lives, mine and the dumpling’s.

They say that you never really know when the last time is the last, and I suppose that’s somewhat true. I had a hunch though, because he’d done the exact same thing when he dropped the evening session. Yesterday morning, he latched but didn’t stick around long enough to get anything from me, which is what he had done for his last session at night. The following night, he didn’t show any interest in nursing before bed. The difference this time: the evening sessions I took the mantra of don’t offer, don’t refuse and just didn’t offer my breast unless he asked. This time though, this morning, I did offer. And guys, he just looked at me, and was like nah – I’d really rather have some puffs thanks, and took off.

So, that’s it for us.

These milestones are hitting us right and left lately. A year old. He’s making strides cruising and walking with his push toy. He’s gaining weight, breaking his growth curve and accelerating up to the 13th percentile for the first time since he was born. He outgrew his infant car seat. He’ll throw a ball back and forth with you and will endlessly offer you things that he’s found. He claps and waves and high fives. He’s starting to drink cow’s milk. Our breastmilk stash ran out last week. And now he no longer nurses.

Sunrise. Sunset. Etc etc.

As for me, I’m super excited that I can take some Sudafed next time I’m sick. Living it up over here!