Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monkey Food Update (Because I know You've Been Losing Sleep Over This)

New foods / combinations:

  • White American Cheese (we have a cheese lover on our hands folks)
  • Cucumbers - he ate them but not with excitement
  • Baked Fuji apple with cinnamon and ricotta - scarfed this down
  • Plain yogurt with pureed strawberries - HUGE fan
  • Grape tomatoes - big hit
Also, we have finally found a sippy cup he uses for drinking rather than teething - it has a straw.  It's slow progress but at least it's progress.

If Monkeys Could Talk (Part II)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby Food

We are slowly moving towards a revolt in our house.  Monkey doesn't seem to appreciate the jarred baby food anymore.  Instead, he wants fresh food.  Last night he turned his head at the sweet potatoes and corn that he has eaten previously and instead ate mild cheddar cheese and grapes.  Then Brian and I went out to dinner and Monkey tried fish (white fish from a fish taco - yummy), pork (which we know he likes), shredded chicken (also a winner).

This morning he refused to eat his apples and banana mixed with rice cereal.  So instead, he is currently scarfing down watermelon (and feeding himself so I can write this post).

As of yet we haven't found something he won't eat (besides the iron fortified oatmeal and cereal - and I tried it so I don't blame him).  I'm hoping this lasts for a long time since I cook on a whim and need my family to enjoy a wide range of food.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Active Baby

Let’s see, what did I do yesterday? Well, to start off, I almost burned the loft down. Yup, I almost did. We have a bathroom light out. It’s halogen so of course this meant I had to make a trip to Lowe’s (which means it only took me about 4 weeks to make this trip). I brought the bulb with me and thought I had bought the correct one, but as it turns out someone put a 500 watt bulb in the 150 watt spot. Something doesn’t smell so good when you put a 500 watt halogen bulb in a 150 watt fixture. But, we are all okay, so no worries.

Hmm… then, I almost burned down the loft. Yes, again, I almost burned down the loft. I made pan fried pork chops (I know, sinful but good) and while I was not-so-carefully bringing the flour covered pork chop to the pan of oil I spilled a bunch of flour on the cook top… on the hot hot burner… there was a lot of smoke and black char. I think I’ve cleaned most of it off.

What else (don’t worry, so far I’ve never “almost burned down a house” more than two times in one day)… oh yeah, I went to the pool. And when I got there I took Monkey out of his stroller, wrestled with him to put his hat on (because somehow the German and Irish genes chose to show up in Monkey), tried to corral him into his raft, tried to convince him to stay in his raft and not swim out of it, threw his ball so she could swim after it, threw him in the air, etc, etc, etc. And there was this very nice woman at the pool with her little girl. The woman asked me how old Monkey was and when I told her he was 10 months she said, “Aww. My daughter is almost 2 and my son is 11 months.”

Huh? Your son? Is he under the water because all I saw was a very quiet little girl calmly sitting in a raft. And then she jerked her head behind her so I could see her 11 month old son. He was sitting on a towel on the ground playing with toys. Occasionally he got up and crawled a few inches away and then sat down again. I’m sure as I watched him my mouth fell open. And I asked her, incredulously, “If you put him there… he just stays there?” I think she thought I was saying something negative… apparently she did not hear the envy in my voice. Because you see loyal readers, you should know what would happen if I put Monkey on a towel a few feet away from me and then I went in to the pool. That’s right, I’d be writing a post about how my son almost drowned because he crawled right over in to the pool.

And then later, after I was exhausted playing with Monkey (read making sure he didn’t drown) she picked up her son and brought him in to the pool. He hung out on her hip… the entire time. I mean he was very much the observer, just not so much the mover. Mine is both. And here is how I know.

Monkey has a new game that I think he learned from watching us in the pool. He throws a ball and then chases it. Well, okay, I lied. To be more precise, he palms a ball, throws it, and then chases it. I swear this is the truth.

Below is a picture of one of his balls. He has another ball, it’s green with a butterfly painted on it, which is the exact same size as this ball. He palms this ball (and the green one).

I know it’s hard to see the true size of the ball, so I put it next to something most people would be familiar with (at least I think most people, it has always been a staple in my kitchen – oh, and you southerners that read this, this is how we northerners make corn bread – no lie). It isn’t a big ball, but it isn’t a tennis ball either.

And while I couldn’t get a picture of him throwing and chasing a ball (video camera is in the works… after we close our house in Texas, once I’m in one apartment only, and once some credit cards are paid down… or maybe just for Christmas) I got you this picture. Right in front of his left arm is the green ball I told you about. What you can’t see is that he is reaching across his body with his right arm to palm the ball with his right hand.

And then he throws it. And then he chases it. I am thinking star basketball player… the first famous paesan basketball player. He can buy me a mansion someday… I’m not proud (just exhausted).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Castruccis Are Moving... Again

Don't worry, we are still staying in Atlanta - we are just moving down the street.  Between never really falling in love with the shoebox, having the air conditioner issues, and a bunch of other things about which I won't go in to detail... it turns out a move is worth the hassle (especially since the new place is nicer and $500 cheaper - where is the downfall?).

Oh, and in true Castrucci fashion, we are doing it like... tomorrow.  Seriously though, our new place becomes active on June 28 and we finish our lease on this place on July 31 (so we overlap for one month... this is the easiest way for us to get all of our stuff and cats to the new apartment).

And, where are we moving... here:  New Apartment.  It's actually closer to where we plan on building and did I say it was cheaper?  Oh, and it still has a pool... and it has doors... and windows... and a bigger kitchen.  It's like I've died to gone to heaven (which is an apropos comparison considering I compared the current place to an inner circle of hell).

We are renting the "Sweetwater" floor plan that looks like this:

Do you see all the doors that open and shut?  We really knew it was time to move on when Brian asked me the other day the top 3 things I'm looking forward to with the new house and my answers were:
  1. Doors
  2. Windows
  3. Pantry
I guess the weirdest part of all of this is that I don't really think it's weird that we are moving to another 6 month lease just down the street.  To me that sounds perfectly normal...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pediatrician's Appt

So last week I tell you I don't have enough to blog about daily and today I'm giving you 2 posts... go figure.

Anyway, Monkey went to the Pediatrician today and here is the news:

Weight: 20.4 lbs - 64% (I totally think they did this wrong and that he is more around 40 lbs... lugging that boy around is a bit much recently)

Height: 29 in - 92% (the nurse practitioner exclaimed how big Monkey's feet are and ensured me he was going to be a tall one - apparently he gets that from his father)

Head circumference: 18 in - 99% (he gets this from his father too)

He got two shots - polio and hepatitis. He wasn't a fan but calmed down quickly.

Nothing alarming to report.  Overall he is a pretty normal kid.  Brian asked about Monkey's energy level... if it was within the normal range... and the nurse practitioner said babies have all kinds of different energy levels and that Monkey is normal.  Then Brian asked if there was something we could do to make Monkey less active.  Nope, there is nothing.

We are getting him more and more on real food (rather than the real baby food).  So far he has eaten watermelon, peaches, cheerios, ground beef, barbecue pork, scrambled and hardboiled egg yolk, yogurt, and mashed ripe bananas.  Not the biggest fan of the yogurt yet but it took us 3 tries with the bananas so I think we are good.  I'm working on over cooking some vegetables for him too.

Final note: my baby is growing up way too fast.  I anticipate a lot of crying on his first birthday.

Dante Missed a Circle

So... Brian's first Father's Day.  He got cards from Evan, the cats, and me.  He had banana bread french toast for breakfast (courtesy of chef Ellen) and he ended his day with the pool and pasta from Maggiano's.  Hmm... and what else happened?  Let me think... oh yeah, in between breakfast and dinner the air conditioner broke... again.

Yesterday it was 96 degrees in Atlanta.  We have one window in our shoebox that opens and two points (a skylight and high windows) where the sun comes in and beats down on the concrete floor.  So, I'm thinking that somewhere in between Dante's circle for violence (the 7th) and the one for fraud (the 8th), lay a smaller circle that looked something like this:

We will categorize it as Circle 7.1 and we will name it the Circle of Fans.

And a bonus moment about yesterday - turns out all the HVAC guys wanted to spend their day with their families - you know, because it was Father's Day and all.  Thankfully we found one guy who wasn't as dedicated and about 4 PM someone came out and fixed it.

And how did Monkey handle the Inferno?  Well, at first he was fascinated by the newest fan in our house:

But his interest wore off quickly as it got hotter and hotter.  Once his cheeks turned the color of a ripe strawberry I decided it was time to strip him down.  Because was good is being a baby if you don't take advantage of the fact that you get to sit around in your underwear?

Overall he didn't seem too annoyed.  I think he knew something wasn't as he liked it but he didn't know what.  He still took his naps and ate his dinner.  Thankfully the air was in full swing by the time he went to sleep.  And then the lovely boy gave Daddy his final gift - a full 12 hours of sleep.

Hopefully next year's Father's Day will be a little more idyllic.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Monkey Explores

I often think that Brian gets a little nervous every morning when he leaves Monkey with me.  Yes he thinks I'm a good (or even great) mother but he also knows 2 things about me:

1. I am a klutz.  I'm only being realistic.  I've dropped a full glass bottle of olive oil on the concrete floor, I've dropped my phone once or twice, I've dropped a container of olives, etc, etc, etc.  So, I don't blame him for being a little nervous, but I'm happy to say I have NEVER dropped Monkey.

2. I am way less risk adverse than Brian.  I'm not letting Monkey put his fingers in any sockets or anything but I let him explore objects, with my close supervision, that Brian might not allow.  For instance:

This is a picture of Monkey playing with an umbrella (yes my umbrella is leopard print... and?).

I watched closely (before I took some pictures) and made sure he never chewed on the metal rods.  He likes the velcro for his teething.  But all I could hear in the back of my mind was Brian telling me that he could poke his palette with the metal rods.

This is a picture of Monkey playing with tupperware.

I am constantly trying to give him "puzzles" to figure out so I filled a tupperware container with his toys and he had to figure out how to open it.  Once he did, he immediately put the lid in his mouth and I could hear Brian telling me that Monkey could cut himself on the lid. 

And, this is Monkey after he finished playing with a water bottle and before he decided to chew my purse. 
He likes to gnaw on the cap and hold on to the bottle.  And again, I hear Brian telling me that if he falls over the bottle could jam into his throat.

I think Monkey needs to explore.  I'd rather he do this with me there to make sure the things Brian imagines don't happen rather than alone (this theory does not extend to drug use, sex, or alcohol, that will not be allowed with or without me there).  And I don't think that Brian necessarily agrees with me... poor guy, he really had no idea what he had married.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Postings

Okay - here is the deal... my life just isn't that exciting to post every day AND it is filled with too many mundane tasks.  So, I'm going to make a promise to you. I will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with the occasional bonus post on Tuesday or Thursday.


Thanks for your silent agreement. 

And while you are waiting for my new post tomorrow, you can enjoy a Xeroxed picture of Evan's foot:

Even his foot is cute... how am I going to yell at this kid someday when he does something super bad (because he will, have you seen the mischief in his eyes?) when his foot is this cute?

Maybe I'll tell you the story someday of why I have this picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New Smile... I Tried

Evan has a new smile.  I call it the squishy-face smile.  It's when he smiles REALLY hard and his entire face squishes up on itself... you know, eyes closed, nose wrinkled, etc.  It is not predictable when he will use this smile or what will make him use this smile but he is damn cute when he does it.  Because of this, I wanted to share it with you so after he ate breakfast this morning, I tried to get him to make the smile.

Here's what I got:

This one he was trying to get the camera.

In this one he was just annoyed I wouldn't give him more cheerios.

This one is all about him trying to avoid the red eye.

And this one... well, I have no idea but it's almost as cute as his squishy-face smile.

Sorry, maybe I'll catch the smile at some random moment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Enough About Sleep

It's kind of amazing how much I can talk about sleep now that I have a baby.  Of course, I could also talk about bowel movements and teething ad nauseum... but let's look at something different.

Let's look at this:

What is this?  Well, the most obvious answer is that it is Monkey's back.  The less obvious answer is it is one of my favorite ways to watch him play (the others ways being every other angle of Monkey).

Sometimes, just sitting there and watching his back is very rewarding.  You aren't really sure what he is doing, but you get to see all kinds of wiggling and squirming and you can pretty much make up the story in your head.  I'm also fascinated by how straight his back is and how naturally that comes to him.

Then sometimes he will turn sideways:

And since I still can't see his face I get to continue to imagine what is going on in his little (or big... 98th percentile people) head.  For instance, I know that in this moment he was trying to put the Jack-in-the-box (or odd-looking-cowboy-in-the-box... he was on clearance, what can I say?) back in to his box.  He is fascinated with this toy  because he knows what is supposed to happen but can't quite figure out how to make it happen. And yet, he never gets frustrated... he just keeps trying until something else catches his attention.

By the way, you should know that after I snapped each of these photos he immediately turned to me with a gigantic smile... smiling for the camera just a second too late.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ladies & Gentlemen... We Have Success

So, it's been a week since we started Ferber-izing Monkey and I think we have reached success.  How do we define success?  Well, he goes down for his naps with minimal (if any) crying.  He goes to sleep with no crying and for the most part he sleeps through the night.  On those rare nights where he gets up (like last night) all we need to do is put him down again in his crib (he is usually bouncing and standing on his mattress), turn on his sleep sheep (fine, we still rely on sleep soothing machines - sorry Dr. Ferber) and he goes right back to sleep.

Even this weekend, with pool and zoo in between, we were successful at keeping his schedule.  This is what he has been doing this past week:

7:00 AM - wakes up and gets a bottle, watches Sesame Street while Mommy makes her own breakfast and tidies up
8:00 AM - eats his solid food breakfast
9:30 AM - bath time
10:00 AM - nap
11:00 AM - wakes up from nap and gets a bottle
12:00 PM - eats his solid lunch, hangs out with Mommy while she eats her lunch
2:00 PM - TV off (if on), book (usually his favorite monkey book), naps
3:30 PM - wakes up from nap and gets bottle
5:00 PM - eats solid dinner
6:45 - 7:15 PM - TV off (if on), changes in to pajamas, final bottle while Mommy tells a story, reads Daddy Hugs (I am already sick of this book but he is enthralled), in room Mommy sings to him, in crib with sleep sheep on, sleep

So this means he is seeping roughly 12 hours at night and 2.5 hours during the day.  I'm okay with this. AND he is the happiest baby in the world.

So, I have to address an earlier post I wrote about my disdain for schedules (and I just looked for it and I can't find it... I know it is somewhere).  I need to let you know, I still hate schedules.  But what I've learned is that they are best for Monkey... yes, right down to the clock times (which I made fun of in that post I can't find because I saw other moms had done it).  This schedule thing is really hard for me because the idea that today is going to be like tomorrow is going to be like the next day, etc... wow, I want to gouge out my eyes. 

But, here is what I know so far:
1. Even though I loved being pregnant there were quite a few inconveniences (like sleeping sitting up for 2-3 hours at a time).  But look how that paid off.  This is just another inconvenience.
2. How can I not do something that makes the little man so happy?  Cranky has pretty much left the building.
3. This isn't forever.  And if I can deal with the loft for a year, I can deal with this.
4. When baby #2 comes along, schedules will make my life much easier.

So, I'm learning... stubborn moment by stubborn moment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Looking Back in a Stream of Consciousness

So I was looking at some old photos for a purpose completely unrelated to this blog and I came across this one:

The minute I saw it my brain started to go a mile a minute.  It's odd how some photos evoke thoughts more than others.  So, I thought, what the heck, I'm going to share these thoughts with you as they come - enjoy!

I can't believe this photo was just taken in February.  My baby doesn't even look like that anymore.  In this photo he looks like a baby... now he looks like a little man.  This was when he just started eating solid food and now he gobbles it down and eats some finger foods.  God I hope he's a good eater as he gets older because I won't be able to handle a picky eater.  Of course, now that I said that out loud, you know he is going to be the pickiest eater of all.  Oh well, whatever he is I'll deal with it.  I wonder what he was thinking in this photo.  The world was still so new to him and we had only been in the loft for a month.  And we still have 6 more months to go.  Seriously, how am I going to make it through?  Once he starts walking all bets are off.  Maybe he won't start walking until he is 15 months?  I have to somehow figure out how to baby proof this place.  My God, I'm being such a whiner, people raise babies in apartments all the time.  Think of the thousands of people in New York - they all live in apartments.  Yes, the city is a hell hole and I can't stand most people from New York... wow, I'm doing a great job on the trying not o be judgmental thing.  I just lumped everyone from New York into one category.  Anyway... you know, looking at this picture makes me think hat Evan might actually have hair now... still only in the front, not in the back.  He has like a reverse mullet, party in the front and business in the back.  Yeah, I'm the only one who will find that funny.

And, that's all the glimpse you are going to get.  The Atlanta Zoo has a new exhibit opening today and Brian is furloughed (but working from home) so we are going to take an hour and head on over there once Monkey wakes up from his nap.  And then possibly another play date tomorrow because, you know, Monday's was such a success.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hodge Podge of Things

So I wanted to share some random thoughts with you today (because you are a reader and therefore can't tell me you don't want to hear my random thoughts... nice).

I'm not sure if you are all aware of this or not, but I get pretty passionate about things... and then 5 minutes later I can change my mind and be just as passionate about the opposite.  You see, I was convinced that Monkey knew what he needed and when he needed it.  Now I'm convinced that Mr. Ferber is a genius.  I know that if I had only listened to my sister then the last few months of difficult sleeping wouldn't have happened.  But you see, I'm an experiential learning... as in I'm too stubborn to listen to something until I've experienced it myself.  Yes, Monkey woke up at 3:30 last night but I was able to get him back to sleep with only a combined total of 20 minutes of crying.  Then, he woke up at 5:50 this morning and I decided to just wait it out... I finally woke him up at 7:30 AM.  AND he is currently taking a nap and he only cried for  minutes... and the angels sing. 

I get it... this is some new and exciting thing for him... but he does it ALL the time.  He stands when he plays at his toy box.

He stands when he plays with his activity walker.

He stands on me.  He stands next to the bath tub.  He stands on the cats... anything that will give him leverage.  And it isn't that I really mind... it's that standing is only fun for so long and then he gets bored. 

And, this morning, he tried to stand holding nothing.  He got his legs straight up, he as bent at the waist and he was trying to pull his upper body over his legs.  Thankfully he didn't do it (yes, I said "thankfully"... listen, I need some time in between milestones and some time before he is running around this shoebox).

This loft has really tested my limits of my theory that you can deal with anything as long as it has an end date.  Hopefully we only have 6 more months in here because we bought our lot and should settle sometime in July for the construction loan and then get going.  We hope to be in a house by December.  Oh, and we have a contract on our house in Texas - YIPPEE!!!!

Monkey has been such a good ambassador that Brian and I definitely want more.  So, I've begun the long trek to wake up my ovaries.  I'm back on Metformin so I can hopefully ovulate.  I'll keep you in the loop as to the steps... but nothing will happen before Monkey is one since I don't want it to and that is the recommended wait after a c-section.

I'm not really sure why, but the neighborhood cats like our stoop.  There are 2 that are regulars and my cats aren't happy.

I can't decide if my cats are jealous or just annoyed.  And I often wonder if the visitor cats want to come in because they think this is some kind of cat haven or what?

Like most people, I have a little crazy in me and it usually manifests itself in my "observations."  Like how I'm always claiming that people look like someone and Brian always thinks I'm wrong... or when I see something now and start to interpret its impact 5 years from now... in a very odd manner.  Anyway, recently my crazy has been focused on Evan because, umm, why not? 

And here is my new crazy... is it just me or does my son have a super long torso (oh yeah, and a cute little butt)?  This might explain why he outgrows his onesies before his pants. I have no idea where he gets this from.  The only person Brian and I could think of is our brother-in-law Ian and umm, that just isn't possible.

That's all I have for today... think of it like sitting with me and having a long conversation where we cover a lot of different topics.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sleeping Update

It's 7:44 and the Castrucci household has been quiet since 7:33... Mr. Monkey Pants whined for a total of 2 minutes this evening and then went promptly to sleep.  Let's just hope that this lasts through the night... but it's nice to be so successful on just Day 4.

So, I have some apologies to make.

1. Amy you were right.  Ferber works wonders.
2. Mr. Ferber I apologize for doubting your theory and maybe, just maybe, calling it hocus pocus once or twice.
3. All those parents who are out there who have testified that Ferber worked for them, sorry for saying "bullshit" to your posts.  That wasn't nice of me.
4. Doctor who wrote Baby 411... yeah, I said you were full of crap when you told me that my baby not sleeping was me letting him run the household.  Ummm, you were correct.
5. General apology to anyone who I may have offended either out loud or in my head about sleeping babies.  I take it all back.

I'll update you tomorrow about how long he slept.

Sogni d'oro (or "sweet dreams" in English).

Let's Talk About Sleep

When we first brought Monkey home from the hospital, he would sleep so hard that I had to wake him up every 3 hours for him to eat.  This continued for probably about 8 weeks until he started to wake himself up when he was hungry.

Then, at around 10 weeks, Monkey decided to sleep through the night in his bassinet in our bedroom.  The first time he did it I woke up consumed with fear that he had died at some point through the night... but he was just sleeping.  Even when we moved him to his crib in his own bedroom in Texas he continued to sleep through the night.  There was the occasional fussiness when we put him down to sleep but he was good.

He was following a fabulous schedule that my sister had given me and there was sleeping harmony in the house.

Then we moved to Atlanta.  We spent the first 10 days in a hotel room and I'm sure the move did something to his schedule because he started to wake at night.  And for some reason, my immediate reaction was to give him a bottle when he would wake up.  He continued to be a super duper napper (as long as we followed the schedule) but had figured out that a bottle at night was a good idea.  This continued for a few weeks until I wised up and realized I was creating a monster.  At some point in February I stopped giving him his bottle, he barely cried, and was sleeping through the night again.  Then, and I don't know when and why, he started night waking again.  We went back and forth about the bottle because some nights it was the only thing that would put him back to sleep and at 3:00 AM that sounded good to me. 

A few weeks ago things started to get really bad.  He started to protest naps, bedtime, and he started waking two times a night and wouldn't always go back down.  But there was never any pattern.  Here are his "schedules" from last Thursday through Saturday:

Yeah, Saturday night was a killer.  And the night that made me start to think about the bad sleeping habits I've taught Monkey simply because it was easy for me.  And then, horror of all horrors, I started to think about an episode of Supernanny where 3 and 4 year olds had hell bedtimes because of their bad sleeping habits... taught to them by their parents. 

So, after I had a pity party about what a bad mother I've been and how what I was going to do would be the best thing for Evan but would also hurt him for the moment (not in the long run) I decided it was time to Ferber.

If you don't know about the Ferber Sleep Method then you can find out more about it in detail here.  For my purposes you need to know two things about it, 1) it is a way of getting children to soothe themselves to sleep without parental intervention, 2) you do this by putting your child to sleep, letting them cry for 5 minutes, soothing them, letting them cry for 10 minutes, soothing them, etc.  I particularly like the way Baby 411 explains it (an amazing book - if you know anyone with a newborn or about to have a baby, buy it for them) paraphrased below:
1. Put baby down.  Your child will start complaining.
2. Wait 5 minutes before returning to soothe. 
3. Make the soothing short and sweet.  Leave room.
4. Your baby cries louder (no surprise here).
5. Wait 10 minutes before returning.
6. Repeat step 3.
7. Your baby sounds possessed.
8. Wait 15 minutes before returning.
9. Repeat step 3... continue.

So on Sunday night I'd had it and was ready to try the method.  Here are the outcomes:

So it isn't perfect, but the two nights where we kept a schedule he slept through the night.  My goal is to get him to sleep for a week like this and THEN start to attack and night wakenings if there are still some (as in take away the bottle and deal with it).

I think if Monkey had been a difficult sleeper earlier I would have listened to my sister and done this from the start. But he never needed it, so I got spoiled.  Now I actually have to parent... and it stinks - listening to him cry... it's not easy.  But I'm hoping this will translate to a happy well-rested baby.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Milestone

Take a look at this:

Yes, I know, he is the cutest baby you've ever seen, but look closer:

Yup, my big boy is now standing all over the place.  You may remember that he first showed his aptitude for standing in his crib and then Brian and I immediately lowered the mattress. 

Since then he has been mostly content with just kneeling.  He would occasionally crawl around in a "Bear Walk" (this is Brian's terminology, it's when Monkey get on his hands and keeps his legs straight so that he is crawling in an upside down "V" with his butt in the air... it looks nothing like a bear) but he didn't seem interested in repeating the standing. 

Then, last weekend, I was cooking dinner, Brian was working on the computer and Monkey was telling us how unhappy he was alone in his corral.  Brian got up to play with him and I heard him say "Look at that," and so I did and there was my little man standing holding on to his gate.  Since then he has done it plenty of times on the gate (he is super fast at getting up now) and he has also stood holding on to his toy box, the couch, the railings on his crib and anything else he can grab hold of.  He hasn't started to move once he stands yet but I'm sure that isn't far behind.

Because look at this face... he knows all the monkey things he can do once he can walk.

I'm a little frightened to be honest.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Play Date

Let's start with the play date since that JUST happened (baby fell asleep in car on way home so hopefully he is out for at least an hour) and if I don't write this down I won't remember it.

First, let's get this out of the way... apparently I cannot go anywhere in a parents group setting without having my baby get a bloody nose (you can refer to the end of this post for a previous bloody nose experience).  This time I put Evan in a little baby pool where he was sitting and splashing all over the place.  I looked away for two seconds at some antics of another child and the next thing I know Evan had tried to climb out of the pool and face planted on my foot.  Bloody nose ensues.  Sigh... it never feels like a good parent moment.  Another mother must have felt bad for me because she said, "Oh, that's okay, Clara just got a bloody nose the other day."  So, your child's random bloody nose compares to the fact that every time I'm out with other parents I'm apparently not paying attention and my son face plants?  Okay... I get it.  But she gets a point for being nice.

So, the overall play date... it was... okay.  Nothing spectacular.  Evan was the youngest one there and the least mobile.  Most parents were able to put their children in a gigantic blow up pool and mingle.  I pretty much had to watch and be with Evan at all times.  And to top it all off, Mr. Monkey Pants had decided that today he would go back to 2 naps (there will be a whole separate sleeping post so I won't go into it) so he was tired and cranky... not usual fabulous Evan-ness.

Everyone was very nice.  Some people knew each other and some didn't.  There was a lot of small talk (that
I'm really not good at in situations where I don't know anyone) and of course, I can't remember anyone's name (it's a curse I have).  And whether anyone believes me or not, I am actually very socially shy so this whole meeting new people is difficult for me to begin with.  It was like going on a blind date and then describing the guy to your friends as "nice."

Okay, here's the thing.  I've been in Atlanta now for 6 months... as a stay at home mom.  In order for me to be a stay at home mom, Brian has to work.  And sometimes he works late and on weekends.  I live in a shoebox.  My neighbors are either college students or hip urban professionals who have loud sex.  I've met my realtor... and that is about it.  So I believe I had unrealistic expectations for this play date.  A part of me honestly thought that I would walk into this group of women and find "the one."  You know, that one mom with whom I would immediately click (and this "one" is very important to me since I usually only have one close friend at a time and then random acquaintances).  She would have a son about Evan's age and somehow we wouldn't have to bother with small talk.  I could immediately be sarcastic and she would get my humor and even throw in a quip of her own.  And we would hang out together.  I would ask her and her son to come to our pool and Evan and I would go to her house.  Eventually our husbands would meet, like each other, and we would be "couple friends."  And I think I just became the most pathetic mom in Atlanta for describing that scenario to you (but as I said, it's all out there on this blog).  And the reality was that everyone was nice.

Of course I will go to the next ones and I might even be able to convince Brian to go to one with me this Saturday (even though he probably has to work and even though it's at a park and there isn't much Evan can do there yet... remember the great swing experiment of April 2010?).  And maybe 10 years from now, I'll be sitting at the kitchen counter with "the one" and we'll be talking about what we thought about each other when we first met... at a play date in East Atlanta.

Oh, and just to explain, there are no pictures on this post because people can find it creepy if you whip out a camera and start taking pictures of their kids when they hardly know you.  This is one of those times when I envy food bloggers... food doesn't get creeped out when you take it's picture.


Okay, so there was a milestone this weekend I want to blog about and some sleep training that needs to be discussed.  However, today is Monday (that crazy day where Monkey and I need to go back to "work week normal"), we have our first play date today (of course Monkey has no idea about this no matter how many times I tell him), and we have dinner with a friend from Austin who is in town.  So, I may not be able to blog until tonight or even tomorrow morning. 

But I wanted to get an explanation out there because I know that some people (Mom, I'm talking about you) check in first thing in the morning and then wonder about what is going on if I haven't written anything.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Did a Bad Bad Thing

So, one day a few weeks ago I was annoyed (or possibly jealous is the more appropriate word to use) that Daddy is the "fun" one between the two of us.  So I decided to show Monkey that Mommy can be fun too... and I did a bad bad thing.  I taught my son to jump off the couch. 

Daddy was kind enough to stand in so I could take pictures to show you how this all happens.

1. First you place Monkey on the edge of a couch cushion.

2. Then you make sure he is looking at you and that your hands are near his arm pits.

3. Next you say "1 - 2 - 3 jump" and he scoots his butt off the couch (sorry for the blurry picture) and...

4. ... into your waiting hands where he laughs at the ridiculous fun.

So, overall this doesn't seem so bad.  Except that 1) I need to warn anyone who plays with him because now he does it so automatically that if you aren't ready, he will still go, and 2) when I placed him on the edge of the pool the other day he immediately decided to jump in to my arms... thankfully I had my hands out in case he fell (not in case he jumped).

I'm telling you, this boy has no fear.  I can't even imagine what is going to happen once he can walk, run, and climb.  I better map out all the routes to the ER.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Evan's Cat

As I may have mentioned before, we have 4 cats (and every time I type that it sounds crazier and crazier).  For the most part the cats have viewed Evan as an anomaly in the house in which they are interested but not concerned.
For instance:

This was when Evan was about 2 weeks or 3 weeks old.  As you can see neither cat seems particularly worried about the baby's presence.

However, for the most part, this changed once Evan became mobile.  The old man cat (Assisi/Bubba) stopped going near the baby once he rolled over.  My Lucy Cat has been timid ever since he started grabbing for her somewhere around February.  Socks gave up once the baby could crawl.  But there is one cat that just didn't get the memo...

For some reason, Bella doesn't really sense the threat of the baby even though she is the only one he has caught so far.

What happens is that Bella (who is under the jumperoo in the above photo) comes in the corral to get love from either Brian or myself.  Baby sees Bella and screams.  He immediately starts going after her.  For some odd reason Bella slowly walks away (she is NOT running in this photo).

Then, at some point, it is inevitable that Baby corners Bella (because apparently Bella completely forgets that she is a cat and can 1) jump on the couch, and 2) squeeze through small spaces like the gap between the gate and the couch).  Often he corners Bella under the chair at the right of the photo (where Bella is going in this picture) even though there are no corners.

Evan grabs handfuls of Bella's hair, uses her to get in to a kneeling position and then bounces on his knees.  So far Bella has only pinned her ears back... no lunging or biting.  But, all the same, either Brian or I usually saves Bella from her torture.  And this can happen a few different times in one day.   Apparently she is not our smart cat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Parenting Outside the House

On Memorial Day it was raining in Atlanta and Brian was only able to break away from his work for about an hour, so we decided to go the Children's Museum of Atlanta.  While most of the exhibits are for older children, and I can't wait to take Evan there once he is older, they have a nice crawl/play space for children under 2 years of age.  It was ideal for Evan since he needed to burn off some energy and I needed him to do it in a place more child friendly than the loft.  So, while he ran through the tunnel, played with fish and blocks, and stared at himself in the mirror, I started to try and figure out how to parent outside the house. 

I believe what Evan is doing here is head butting his image.  This is something he and I do a lot.  I go in and then rub my forehead against his.  So, do this mean he loves himself or that he loves the image which he doesn't know is himself?

You see, this is the first time where I've been with Evan around other children and he was mobile.  He has been to playcare at the YMCA but I'm not there.  And the other times we were around a lot of children was when he was just turning to roll over.  So, basically I put him down and checked on him every once in a while.  Nothing happened.  He was like a sack of potatoes (a very cute sack of potatoes but potatoes nonetheless).  And I realized I'm not really sure what to do.

Here is the thing.  I'm a pretty laid back parent.  As long as Evan isn't in immediate danger I pretty much let him explore the world.  Around other kids, I try and make sure he doesn't hurt them (like when he was trying to crawl over a baby, I stopped that).  I extend this belief to other kids.  Like a little boy wanted to see the fish Evan was playing with so he came over.  He was standing in front of me and Evan was next to him.  I had my hands out to make sure he didn't fall or go to step on Evan and all was good in my world. His mother, however, was trying to get the little boy to come back to her and apologizing to me.  I told her, again and again, that it was no big deal.  And then I realized... maybe it was a big deal to her.  Maybe she didn't want me catching her child or maybe she didn't trust him around babies, or maybe a bazillion other things.  And then I thought how awkward it would be for her if Evan was over near her... because I wouldn't care.  But she might.

This all gets very confusing and rather annoying.  I have my first playgroup at someone's house with children Evan's age next Monday.  I wish someone would post rules or protocol so I knew what was okay.  He is only 9 months so I don't expect him to understand the nuances of how societal interactions work... so I guess it's up to me.  And I can only assume that parents will tell me if they don't agree with how I'm interacting with their child.  This is why I'm a hermit, this stuff is just too difficult.  But, Evan needs friends so I have to start somewhere.

On a side note, I had this conversation with him and this is the face he gave me:

I think he is pretty much telling me to get over it and just let life be... he is wise beyond his years.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Monkey Milestones - Say That Three Times Fast

To wrap up May, I just wanted to review some big milestones in Monkey's life.  You are aware of most of them... but there might be a new one.

Kneeling and crawling - he can do both and he does them a lot.  He started out crawling doing the army crawl but now, about 90% of the time he crawls on all fours.  And his favorite thing to do is to crawl after our gray cat Bella who, apparently, is not smart enough to run away.  All the other cats recognize Monkey Movement and run as far away as possible.

Swimming - you might remember that we tried swimming in Cancun but Monkey wanted none of it.  He was 4 months old, stuffed into swimming shirts and trunks that were too small for him, and had just flown from Austin to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Cancun.  Poor guy.  But we tried it again and he LOVES it.  Swimming has also opened new doors for the bathtub.  He is much more active in the tub and the other day he flipped over and started crawling around.

Finger Foods - we have moved in to a new realm.  Monkey now eats finger foods.  So far he had a pickle in New Jersey (he made some seriously bad faces but he sucked on it), cheerios when we eat dinner (he loves them - one must have fallen off of his onesie last night when I changed him because this morning he found one on his changing table and popped it in his mouth before I could get to it), and most recently hardboiled egg yolk (which he loved yesterday but wasn't so sure about this morning - I think because this morning it was cold from the fridge).  The only problem with finger food is that it has given him a false sense of his ability.  He now wants to feed himself from his spoon.  It isn't pretty people... lots of cleaning involved.

Climbing Stairs - yup, he can do it. So far he has only scaled two but he just keeps on going.  Seriously, this boy has no fear.  He decides what he wants to do and he does it.  Never mind that our stairs are metal with treads so they must hurt his little knees.  Never mind that when he slides he slides back on concrete.  He just keeps on trying.  I'm in for it when this boy gets fully mobile!

And last but not least...

Black eye - huh?  Well, Monkey has his first black eye.  Yesterday while Brian was holding him he dive bombed at Brian's head and caught the bone under his eye on Brian's glasses.  It's all bruised but it doesn't seem to bother him at all.  And the way he throws that head around, I'm sure it won't be the last time either.