One year ago…

The Dude turned one last week! He is growing and changing faster than ever and seems to have come so far in just the last month alone. New skills include clapping, which he just randomly did one morning. He woke up, immediately sat up in bed and just started clapping! He seems to do it a lot in bed for some reason.

He has also began waving but like the clapping, he doesn’t do it on demand. In fact that’s a theme that has been running through everything; he never imitates. I read Dr Sears’ The Baby Book and it went on about how babies learn by copying, so you stick your tongue out and they do it back. I’ve been poking my tongue out at this baby for nine months now and never once has he done it back! Oh he’s had plenty of tongue poking practice, it’s not like he has a tongue tie or can’t do it, but it’s never on command or in response. Same goes for anything else, waving, clapping, making noises, he just looks at us like, “go for your life, man, but I’ll do that when I feel like it thanks!”

Some words are definitely coming out. He knows mama and dada, numnums (our word for food) and I’m convinced he says zeh-zeh (his version of his name, Izzy). He also says “ohhhh”, to which I always reply, “what’s occurring?” (Gavin and Stacey anyone?).

He adores music, any kind, from hiphop to classical to rock to dance to the little jingles that emanate repeatedly from various toys. He dances, it’s so cute, bounces up and down while sitting, standing and even in the ergo. I’m not that surprised, given the musical appreciation and raw talent running rampant in both my and Mr Chewbacca’s families, but I’m secretly very chuffed. I will do my best not to impose my shit on him or force him to embrace anything just so I can live vicariously, but I would love it if the Dude ended up doing something with music. I hugely regret not learning piano as a kid. So does Mr Chewbacca in fact. Anyway, his latest favourite is the classic Chili Peppers “Give it Away”. He likes it when I sing the “oh yeeeeeah” bit.

We’ve had so many changes this last month. Dude grew another centimetre so he’s now at 79, and he put on 600g so he’s now 11.5kg. That puts him in the 75th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height. He’s eating more, and I’m allowing more variety, so he now has peanut butter on toast, more variety of fruit and veg and the odd tidbit from our plates. I even gave him a little of the pasta from a homemade lasagne today and he loved it. I know he’s keen to eat everything we eat but I believe it takes time to introduce such variety. So it’s just little bits at a time for now.

My dad bought the Dude a stroller for his birthday and I was thrilled to discover he actually loves it! He falls asleep in it and everything, which is a massive contrast to how he was months ago when he screamed after ten minutes. Lucky, because he’s getting too heavy to carry for any length of time. He’s been on my back now for about an hour and I can feel it.

We went out without the Dude for the very first time since he was born. It was a few days before his birthday. We got a breast pump, and I pumped a couple of bottles of milk. Urgh, hate it, so hard, don’t know how some women do it full time! I think they must have firmer, perkier, smaller boobs. Anyway, moving on… We left the Dude at home with my aunt for the evening while we went to a friend’s wedding. It was hard! I had such anxiety when I first left home without him, and I just kept checking my phone every five minutes. It was great though, to just relax with friends. We got home around 11:30 and Dude was asleep, although he woke soon after we arrived. He’d refused the bottle entirely! I think the milk wasn’t fresh enough. Anyway, it was a success and although I wouldn’t do it all the time, it’s good to know it’s possible.

We had a little party for him on Sunday. It went really well, considering neither of us has ever hosted a party for twenty odd people before. I am so disorganised. I like planning but don’t like actually scheduling the work and sticking to the schedule. So given I made all the food, I think we did okay. The cake was a serious disappointment, to me anyway. It looked alright, as I did a hundreds and thousands cover up job, but it was nothing compared to what I’d planned. I just didn’t prepare properly and guessed a lot, which is always bad. image

Anyway, despite the mould-coloured slightly curdled icing hiding under those tiny coloured spheres, it tasted pretty yummy. The kids wolfed it down and went for seconds. Dude was given a piece but was more interested in the plate at first, then started mashing it into the table and floor, then finally tried to eat some.

He was really the highlight of the day for me. He fell asleep on my back for half an hour or so before people started arriving and then he just socialised! He loved having.everyone in the house, other kids to play with, so much stuff to do. There was really only one point where he seemed to get tired, probably three or four o’clock, and a good friend who was at his birth offered to carry him round in the ergo. That was great. He didn’t sleep but he chilled out, and then just kept going. Once everyone had gone about 6:30-7, he suddenly realised he was beyond tired and screamed the house down while we quickly got him ready for bed. Nothing out of the ordinary there, he does that more nights than not.

Speaking of sleep, I can’t say it’s great but it could be a lot worse. He goes down between 6 and 7, and then wakes two or three times before we go to bed at 10:30 or so. Sounds awful! But it’s not that bad. At least when we do come to bed he’ll often sleep through, or only wake once. He usually wakes around 6:30-7am, although has been known to sleep in for no particular reason. His itchy skin is what interrupts sleep. I wish I could say we’ve sorted his eczema but it’s still an issue. It’s not totally out of control but it’s not being well-managed. We can’t afford the Graham’s cream any more and I still don’t know the cause of it. I thought it might have been a zinc deficiency but I’ve been giving him a supplement for about a month now and I’m not seeing a massive difference. I thought maybe it might have been healing just the other day but I’m not sure. I’ve just upped his dosage as I realised I read the label wrong, so we’ll see, it might help.

I must finish now and turn off my phone as the light is distracting for him as I try and get him to sleep. He’s now sitting up in his cot playing very seriously with some stuffed toys and a blanket. He’s in the ‘pick it up, throw it down’ stage. Pick up the blanket, thrown it down, pick it up, put it down, all the while with great focus and effort. You’d never know he’s dead tired…

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Nearly 8 months

It’s funny. Eight months doesn’t seem like a very long time, but for the little Dude it’s a lifetime.  And because my life has changed so much since he arrived, it’s a lifetime for me too.  He is now sitting up by himself, having just randomly done it one day a few weeks ago.  We’re now in a stage I didn’t expect where we wait for him to sit himself up, then place pillows strategically around him in case he falls backwards or to one side, which he’s done many times.  Without pillows he’d just fall and hit his head on the ground, and even with the carpet under him it’s still a shock and probably hurts.  He’s tall too so he has further to fall.  I shudder to think how hard it’s going to be monitoring him when he’s learning to walk!  It’s nice now he can sit because it gives him more to do and he can play alone for longer without getting frustrated, although he still puts himself on his tummy and then starts screaming like he’s a beached whale and can’t move, it’s really weird.  That’s usually an indicator that he’s tired.

Speaking of tiredness, sleeping has been reasonably challenging recently.  He sleeps well at night, generally right the way through, but that’s only because he’s right next to me and can have boobie whenever he wants.  Some nights I’m sure he sleeps right through without even a dream feed, but other nights he gets restless at 4am and will toss and turn and feed on and off for an hour or more, which can be a bit annoying, but not the end of the world.  I’ve not had to get up with him in the night, so I think that’s quite good.  He still has a really hard time actually getting to sleep, especially for naps, of which he has two during the day.  Or at least I try to ensure he has two, and preferably for two hours each, although that rarely happens.  Not that he doesn’t need it, he so desperately needs more sleep, but he just can’t wind down and stay asleep.  Recently he’s been dozing off still attached for an hour or so, and then when I think I might be able to detach him and creep away he wakes and starts smiling and playing even though his eyelids are drooping and it’s clear he needs more sleep and will probably scream because he’s tired in about half an hour… So my life these days consists mainly of trying to get the Dude to a) sleep and b) stay asleep, which he rarely does without me for more than about 45 minutes.  There have been occasions where he’s slept alone for an hour or even two, but those are extremely rare, so rare they’re just flukes I think.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this child is freaking intense!  But I guess I shouldn’t have expected much else, given how his dad is, and the family history of insomnia on both sides… the poor little dude doesn’t stand a chance really!  Sometimes he’s thrashing about so much I wonder how it’s possible for him to ever fall asleep, but it happens, and when he finally relaxes deeply after a couple of hours he will sleep pretty soundly, or at least I think that’s the case, I don’t remember being awake to find out!

Of course he’s massive, as usual.  He’s actually off the growth chart all together in terms of his height/length, which at 7 months sat at 75cm (haven’t measured recently so not sure, he’s probably grown since).  He was just shy of 10kg at 7 months, and that’s the 97th percentile or thereabouts.  We’re predicting he’ll be at least 6’5″, as his dad is 6’3″ but I’m convinced his mum’s lack of prenatal care and his terrible infant nutrition contributed to him being slightly smaller, as his dad is 6’5″.  I also think his strange eyesight (being very short-sighted only in one eye, discovered when he was four) and his odd digestion are related to that too.  But that’s just what I think.  Anyway, the Dude is huge and thriving, of course, despite my ignoring the stupid doctor and not plying him with iron fortified rice cereal made with formula!  Speaking of the doctor, I’ve decided I’m never going back to her, as every time she just disappoints me, doesn’t help me, doesn’t listen to me, and says really annoying things.  I’m going to try a new anthroposophical doctor I’ve discovered nearby and heard good things about, so we’ll see what happens there.  I’m curious about what she’ll say about his skin.

Speaking of the Dude’s skin, it isn’t fantastic.  I know it’s definitely constitutional and something his body has to work through, but I feel that there is more I could do for him.  Sometimes it’s really quite bad and cracks a little around his right wrist and both ankles.  He seems to have more on the right side than the left, which just helps confirm its constitutional nature.  His skin on his bum is perfect, which was a real mystery for a while there, until I was bathing him and my mum was here and she suddenly suggested that having the nappy on was actually helping the skin retain its moisture, and so it’s a simple case of the skin being unable to retain moisture.  That makes so much sense, given how much worse his skin got when we were in (dry) Melbourne, as Sydney is so humid most of the time.  Husband said it makes sense to him as he actually has extra dry skin and has done for as long as he can remember and that’s why he slathers himself in cocoa butter every morning.  So now we have a bit more insight into what’s actually occurring with the skin, and when it was really bad I did relent and apply a little cortisone cream which of course cleared it up very quickly, but I’m really not keen to put it on all the time because I know all its doing is suppressing the immune response, which is just a quick temporary fix and not a long term solution, plus it’s not something I want to do.  The immune system is working, that’s good, I don’t want to block it.  So we’ll see what the anthroposophical doc says and go from there.  At some level I feel I could do more with my diet, but I just haven’t got the commitment; sad but true.  So his skin has red, dry patches around his wrists and ankles, and a few bits behind his knees, up his lower arms and under his chin, although it changes slowly.

Anyway, as far as other developments go, he’s really moving around a lot, although not technically crawling yet.  He can get up on his hands and knees briefly and rock a bit, but generally he sort of pulls himself along with his arms, and pushes off with his feet.  He’s still really shaky and it’s very scary watching him try and sit and pull himself up.  Because he’s pretty tall he can see over the coffee table, and earlier today I turned around for a minute only to turn back and find him about to pull a ceramic bowl of Christmas chocolates onto his head!  It’s pretty awful when he falls backwards or sideways and he’s already had a few bumps on the head but we just do our best to keep cushions around him or be down on the floor with him and always watching.  He’s extremely strong – I’m currently watching him pull a dining chair towards him across the floor with one hand… and yes, that’s a metal framed chair, quite heavy!

He’s recently begun saying ‘mum mum mum mum’ and ‘dthe dthe dthe’, and he also says what sounds like ‘yeah’, in addition to his ‘ngeng’ and ‘geh’.  He laughs and responds to peekaboo and tickling, makes his mini Chewbacca noise, screeches loudly for no reason in particular, and cries out of frustration ALL the time.  His eating is pretty good, I think.  We’ve been doing combination baby-led solids, so I often give him big chunks of fruit to eat straight off his tray table in the high chair, which he is very capable of doing.  Today he polished off about three quarters of a whole nectarine (his favourite).  I’m holding back on all the nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, eggplant – as well as citrus and other allergenic fruits like strawberries.  I’m sure he’d be fine with all of that, but it’s more about getting his body used to eating before we make it work extra hard to process this kind of food.  He eats rusks which have a tiny bit of milk and wheat in them and so far is fine with it, but that’s as much as I’ve given him of those two things.  He has also eaten a few crusts as well.  Other than that, I spoon feed him a bit, usually with an organic veggie, fruit, millet mix I get from the supermarket.  I’m a bit slack with making him food, and he loves the stuff in the packet and it’s completely natural and all organic and free of additives etc so I figure it’s all good.  We’ve discovered that, like daddy, he hasn’t got a sweet tooth, so he likes his nectarines much more than something like mango, which would be my preference.  He’s amazing with the nectarine actually.  I cut him off slices like little boats, and he eats the flesh and spits out the skin.  At first I was worried and was going to peel it but there’s really no need, he’s very capable of eating just the flesh.

So far he still doesn’t suck on a dummy, although I give it to him when we go to sleep.  He does like it to chew on and play with, but when it’s time to sleep he will get upset if I put the dummy in his mouth.  He doesn’t accept substitutes!  At some level it’s as though he knows it’s just not the same.  He’s like that with everything actually.  I’m sure he understands what I’m saying most of the time.  He looks at me so intently, listens to everything I say, and responds accordingly.  He has known his name for months now, and will always respond, even if it’s to just give a cheeky look and go back to whatever havoc he was wreaking.  Although usually he’ll pay attention and actually turn back, as though he knows exactly what I’ve said and is doing just what I’ve asked.  It’s pretty amazing.

Anyway, at the moment, five days off eight months, he is just about to crawl, beginning to say words, and just turning into an amazing little boy.  I wish he’d sleep by himself as I’d love to be able to stretch out in bed again and go to sleep and wake up whenever I want, but I know it will pass and eventually he will sleep in his own bed.  For the moment, he is how he is, and he is just perfect.

Nearly 7 months

Man it’s tough parenting the Dude! I find it hard to relate to my friends in the same way as I did pre baby, as my attention is so focused on him. And he is full on! I was heartened to read Rixa’s post about her youngest’s night waking antics; not that I rejoice in the suffering of others, but it’s more that I am glad to know even she, who seems so sorted out, has to deal with challenges like that. I hope I don’t have all that to look forward to in two months! At least Inga actually sleeps in her cot though, the Dude just won’t, it’s madness! I want my bed back!

He now has five teeth, the first of which arrived just over a month ago, and the last, on the side of his front top, I noticed just poked through this morning.  He doesn’t seem to be suffering too much with the teething, despite the sudden onslaught, and I think the homepathic chamomilla, nux vomica, placenta remedy, emergency essence and Brauer teething relief have all really helped stave off any real pain.  So far he’s been eating very heartily, and would eat lots more given the chance but I’m not very good at coordinating food for him!  He’s had apples, carrots, mangos, watermelon, rockmelon, blueberries, sweet potato, potato (he grabbed it off my plate when I wasn’t watching!), bread (again, grabbed), avocado, and bananas.  He loves everything.  He’s eating his first teething rusk right now and totally loving it.  I don’t think we’re going to have any eating issues with this one.

I just took him for his six month check up with the doctor (yeah, it’s late, I didn’t book him in until now) and he is a very healthy 9.8kg, so well in the 90th percentile.  I wouldn’t say he’s a particularly chubby baby, but he is really solid, like one big muscle.  He’s very wriggly and is trying to get up on his hands and knees a fair bit.  Yesterday I came out of the shower to find he’s rolled onto his front in his sleep but hadn’t managed to pull his arm out from under himself so he was flat on his face!  I found it pretty funny actually but my husband was a bit concerned.  I just took a quick photo and then pulled his arm through and he slept peacefully on his tummy for the first time since he was a newborn.

The doctor was really not that helpful, but hey, she never usually is, and I didn’t really take him to her so she could confirm he was healthy or whatever – I knew that!  She was immediately concerned about his skin, which is actually not too bad at the moment, although it is a bit flaky and cracked around his ankles, and he has a bit of redness and irritation round his neck which comes and goes.  I am putting coconut oil on it which really soothes but it doesn’t make it go away.  Not that I expected it to, given that his skin issue is constitutional, and therefore the skin irritation is just an external symptom of what’s going on internally, so why would an externally applied thing ‘fix’ it?  The doctor was like, ‘but what you’re doing is clearly not working as he’s still got it,’ and I explained that quashing the symptoms – ie. the rash – is not my intention, and rather I’d prefer to let his body sort itself out internally in its own time.  She didn’t get it and again recommended Hydrozole and Cetaphil, acknowledging that the former has cortisone in it.  I actually purchased them both this time but I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll use them, must research more – stay tuned for a post on cortisone.

Despite the fact that he’s clearly thriving, the doc is still obsessed with the idea that suddenly at six months babies stop getting adequate iron via breastmilk.  She was stupidly obsessed with me having enough iron in pregnancy too, despite the fact that I’ve never come close to being anaemic in my life.  I asked her why and she didn’t really answer me, she just said, ‘I’m just telling you what the studies show’.  She’s such a coward.  How can you, as a professional, recommend products and practices without knowing all the info?  I thought then that I should have become a doctor!  Seriously I swear this woman is a plant by the big pharma companies, she is obsessed with all pharmaceutical products!  She goes, ‘oh, get Cetaphil, it’s a really gentle moisturiser, won’t irritate the skin,’ and I was like, ‘oh, so it’s alcohol free,’ and she goes, ‘oh, I don’t know what’s in it, but yes, it’s very gentle.’  Are you for real, woman?  You don’t know what’s in it but you’re recommending it for a baby?  Yeesh.  Anyway, she says he should be having baby rice cereal that’s fortified with iron, so I did buy him some organic stuff, and will give him a go on it, can’t hurt, but I’m not really fussed, as I think all this obsession with iron is bollocks, frankly.

Anyway, the little dude is thriving.  He says, ‘de’, ‘ghe’, ‘ne’, ‘be’ and a whole bunch of other random noises that often sound like ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and other actual words.  He also understands a lot of what I say.  He knows what ‘boobie’ is, and he knows his full name, nickname, as well as ‘bug’ and ‘dude’ and ‘little boy’.  I am pretty sure he knows what I’m on about most of the time, and his needs are so well met that he doesn’t really need to ask for anything much.  The other week he asked for boobie by opening his mouth and virtually gesturing, and then grabbing my boob when I leaned down over him on his change table!  He then smiled when I asked if that’s what he wanted.  I reckon half the time he is frustrated because I’m not doing what he asks straight away – sometimes it’s because I’m not paying attention to his clear signals, and other times it’s because I’m busy doing something else.

Back to the sleeping thing, it’s really challenged me, just on a patience level.  I now firmly believe that this baby came to me for a reason, because there’s no way anyone else would be able to retain the level of patience I have.  I’m pretty over cosleeping.  Not that it doesn’t work, but the bed is just too small, the Dude takes up a lot of space, as does his dad, and I am sandwiched in between.  I also think it’s a two edged sword in a way.  I think he wakes BECAUSE I’m next to him, and yet he’d probably wake if I WASN’T next to him.  I’ve tried time and again to get him to sleep in his cot and it just doesn’t happen.  He’s not one of those babies who just drops off to sleep with a bit of patting after a bath.  He doesn’t fall asleep with rocking.  He only sleeps when lying down in bed feeding, or when being walked round in the Ergo, that’s it.  And then if I do get him to sleep in bed (usually takes at least an hour), he doesn’t stay asleep.  If I try to put him down say at 7pm, I will be in and out of the room and lying next to him for at least two hours, and that’s if he actually does go to sleep.  So although I’d love to get him in a routine, it just doesn’t happen and we end up keeping him up til 10:30 or so when we go to bed.

Anyway, he’s currently wriggling in my lap needing to sleep so I’m stopping here…

Nearly 6 months

Can it really be six months since I felt that weird little trickle and leaked all over the bathroom floor? Six months since I had a full night’s sleep? Since I met this gorgeous little boy and thought, who are you?  Next week really does mark six months since the Dude’s arrival (although he was technically here before, making his presence and personality known by kicking the hell out of me and hiccuping at every chance).  He still kicks a lot but hiccups a normal amount these days.  He says words, although they’re not in English I don’t think.  So far, his favourite words are ‘ngeng’ and ‘geh’.  I think ngeng means ‘I want stuff’ and geh means ‘so, what’s happening?’  He has recently taken to whacking himself over and over, especially when stimulated or excited.  He rolls both ways quite easily, although I don’t think he realises yet that he is actually able to roll whenever he likes, so he still gets frustrated on his tummy and I have to turn him over.  When on his tummy he is gathering his legs under him and sticking his bum in the air, gripping onto the floor with his toes, all obviously in the lead up to crawling.  He’s been growing like crazy and it well and truly right at the top of the scale in terms of length, weight and head circumference.  We weighed him at about 5 months and he was 8.9kg!  That’s heavier than my friend’s 8 month old… yeah.

The eczema has been interesting.  I’m pretty sure my eating dairy aggravates it, especially things like milk and cheese and icecream.  So I’ve been trying to stick to the dairy-free diet, which isn’t that difficult, although my constant need to eat junk doesn’t help.  I notice if I eat any dairy (apart from good yoghurt) the Dude will sometimes throw up a bit after a feed or sometimes even between feeds, so I’m sure it makes him a bit refluxy.  The eczema has changed and I think gotten a little worse but is really plateauing at the moment, with a big concentration round his neck and under his chin, and some on his wrists and ankles that’s nowhere near as bad.  Sometimes it appears on his tummy and in his belly button, but just as red patches, not really dry or scaly.  I’ve tried a variety of things, from Hope’s Relief cream which is nice and natural but not as effective as I expected, to coconut oil which is a decent moisturiser but really doesn’t last too long.  Recently I put some paw paw ointment on which has been awesome, although not necessarily good to get rid of any itch.  Some nights he just wakes every couple of hours and feeds feverishly and scratches his chest and neck constantly, sometimes until he gets frustrated and cries, and other times I hold his hands and stop him working himself up into a scratching frenzy.

We are still co-sleeping, which, to be honest, isn’t the greatest thing in the world.  I would never want him in a bed in another room, don’t get me wrong, and it’s great knowing he’s right there and safe next to me, but our bed isn’t really big enough even though it’s a queen size, as he rolls to get the boobie and ends up taking up a third of it to himself.  And he kicks me in the stomach, wriggling and writhing, grabbing my top, pushing the boob away when he actually wants it.  He’s no good at getting it for himself really.  And he wakes so easily when we stir, it’s quite frustrating.  There are only rare times when he’s really deeply asleep and won’t stir.  His cot is side-carted alongside but he has never slept in it.  It’s just not logistically possible to get him to sleep in it, I’d end up being up all night and he wouldn’t get enough sleep.  He so very rarely falls asleep in my arms these days, and it’s usually only because he’s exhausted.  Even then, if I dare to move he wakes, it’s as simple as that.  I don’t think I’ve ever successfully put him down to sleep.  Actually I think that’s not true, I’ve done it, but it was before he was 8 weeks old, before he’d sleep through the night, when I couldn’t feed him lying down.  I don’t miss those nights!

Breastfeeding is still going well.  He is obviously thriving on my milk, of which there continues to be an abundance, and he feeds to sleep every night and some naps, unless I put him to sleep on me in the ergo which means standing almost permanently.  And now he’s about 9kg he gets heavy!  I can’t say I enjoy breastfeeding any more than I did to begin with, it is what it is, just part of the process and I’m glad it’s so straight forward for me (relatively speaking) and will do it until he seems like he doesn’t need it any more.  Just quietly, I hope that’s sooner rather than later!

The biggest milestone of late is the arrival of teeth!  Two of them in fact, about a week ago, one poking through one day and the second the next, at the bottom.  They are very sharp!  His teething symptoms have gone down a bit I guess, he certainly doesn’t have the one red cheek any more, but he is still irritable much of the time.  Some days he’s okay, others he just has bad days and I can’t really work out why.  He is just really nervy and full on and demanding but doesn’t really know what he wants.  Like his dad!  Infuriating sometimes!  I was reading SouleMama’s blog just this morning and she wrote about her littlest one who is a few days younger than the Dude – oh how different!  I’m kind of jealous actually, as he little one will suck her thumb and put herself to sleep on the couch with all sorts of noise going on around her!  Oh what joy that would be!  Currently I’m listening to the Dude getting louder and louder in his cot… the mobile (second one we’ve bought) just doesn’t cut it, and he soon gets bored and angry.  He is interested in dummies but won’t really just lie there and suck it, he has to hold it and then he pulls it out of his mouth, examines it, then puts it in sideways and chews on the plastic, then gets sick of it and throws it away.  So still a no go.  Speaking of which, I better go and get him before he gets too upset.  He’s already had a two hour sleep this morning and it’s only midday but apparently that wasn’t sufficient!!  Ho hum…

Nearly five months

Gosh, has it really been that long since I’ve updated?!  So much has happened!

So the Dude is going to be five months on Sunday (I think he’s 22 weeks this week, kind of losing count).  He rolled from front to back for the first time at 19 weeks and has since done it a handful of times.  He mostly doesn’t do it though, when I put him down for tummy time.  He does stay down longer than he used to, without losing it, but daddy still hasn’t seen him roll!  And then yesterday for the first time I witnessed him roll from his back to his front!!  I couldn’t believe it, it was awesome, he just did it with a little effort.

I took him to visit a friend yesterday, who has a little girl two months older than him, and she is really wriggling about, twisting and turning over and over, pretty much crawling.  When I put him next to this little girl, however, I suddenly realised just how massive he is!  He is slightly bigger than this little girl, even though she’s so much older.  And she’s not a small baby, I’d say probably around average.  But he just sort of lay there and watched her wriggling about in awe, like, wow, why can’t I do that?  ha ha!

So speaking of his size, I did take him for his first check up.  We went to the doctor as I’d had a blocked ear for ages and although I’d killed any infection in there with onion juice, my ear just wasn’t clearing.  I finally relented and went to the doctor (the same one I’d gone to when I was first pregnant).  She’s a nice woman but god she’s so ignorant!  The things she said to me during the appointment, I had to really make an effort not to laugh.  She actually started telling me how to ‘discipline’ my four month old baby and she even referred to babies as being ‘like puppies’!!  Can you imagine!  She didn’t help my ear problem either.  She just looked in it, confirmed it was blocked beyond syringing (der, that’s why I went to see the doctor!) and then told me to go and get Ear Clear from the pharmacy!  Seriously, I could have just gone and asked the pharmacist, what a waste of time and money that was.  She weighed the Dude (which is main thing I was interested in) and he was 8.14kg!  So he’d doubled his birth weight!  He is in the 97th percentile for weight, height and head circumference, so yes, he’s a biggie.  She asked me if I was practising ‘attachment parenting’ and I was like, erm, I don’t actually like to apply any labels to things, I just do what I do, but I guess it’s along the lines of attachment parenting.  She thought we were co-sleeping because it was AP, but it’s got nothing to do with wanting to practise AP, it’s just about what feels right and what’s simplest and easiest.  She also asked if I was vaccinating and I said no and got her to sign the conscientious objection form, which she had no issue with (yay!).  She looked at his skin and advised me to get a cream with cortisone in it!  I didn’t say anything but there’s no way I’d put it on him – I wouldn’t put it on my own skin, let alone a baby’s!  Anyway, so the only good things to come out of the appointment were finding out how much he weighs and getting the form signed. Ho hum.

You’ll be happy to know my ear has unblocked itself (although the infection soon arrived in the other ear, which I killed with onion juice again and the blockage is just about gone there too).  No thanks to Mrs Useless GP!  She means well, she’s not a bad person, but gawd, ignorant as hell!  I could provide a better service and I have no medical qualifications!

I don’t want to wish time away, as there’ll never be another time where the Dude will be little like this, but I really can’t wait for him to be more mobile and to sit up by himself.  He gets so frustrated that he can’t, I can tell.  Anyway, it’ll come soon, he’s almost there.

His skin has been pretty bad, comes and goes, so although I didn’t think he had intolerances I think the dairy does contribute to his skin so I’m going back off it again.  My eating, that’s a whole other story and not for this post… anyway, he has what seems to be eczema, and also recently started getting red blotches with white dots in the middle randomly on him, and they’d disappear as fast as they appeared so I think he’s allergic to something, possibly the wool fleece my mum bought him.  I am just keeping an eye on it really, I think it’ll come and go as his constitution works itself out.

We had a couple of very successful osteo appointments where there was total relaxation achieved twice, it was great, and he’s been much more relaxed since.  And we took him to a wedding about five hours drive north, and that was fine, we managed, although I was quite illegal a few times and just took him out of his seat to feed him while we drove.  Meh.  I used to sit on my mum’s lap for every long trip we ever did and nothing ever happened, so I’m not worried.

Must stop, as he’s just woken, I can hear him chatting to himself in the bedroom.

Nearly four months

So the Dude will be four months old on Friday.  How time flies!  He is extremely cute, getting a lot bigger.  I was reading the latest from The Feminist Breeder yesterday, and was reminded yet again how different babies really are.  Among other things in her first post back since the August hiatus, she mentions that her little girl (who is about 3 weeks older than the Dude) began rolling over at 3 months.  Really?!  Wow!  I was kind of shocked actually because the Dude is nearly four months and still hasn’t rolled over.  I haven’t paid much attention to what it says about when babies are meant to do certain things, but it really made me think about how different babies can be and how all that stuff about milestones really means nothing.  Actually, to be honest, I initially began to worry – why isn’t he rolling over, why isn’t he reaching this crucial developmental stage, is there something wrong with him?  Yeah, apparently that’s what mums do, worry.  In terms of muscle strength, he’s got it all, and then some.  He can easily roll from his back to his side and back again, and I’m sure he’s got the muscles to roll right over, but he just doesn’t do it, doesn’t have the motor skills yet I guess.  Typical boy, bit behind the girls.  On the other hand, TFB also said her little one has grown 4 inches since birth.  Really?  At first that sounded like a lot, but then I converted it to centimetres and realised the Dude has grown more than double that since birth!  17cm and counting in fact.  Which, if my calculations are correct (2.5 centimetres equals one inch?) is roughly equivalent to 10 inches.  Freaking massive!  So I’ve decided all his energy is going into growing lengthways and he’s not had a chance to learn about rolling yet.  It’ll come, in time.

On the other hand, despite not rolling, he is definitely roly poly, a real little chunk.  Actually really bloody heavy!  I haven’t had him weighed since his 6 week check up with the midwife, where he was 5.5 kilos I think, but I’m banking on him being at least 7kg now, probably more.  He is very solid!  And boy does he like to sit up!  Of course he’s nowhere near doing it for real in terms of his balance and motor skills, but he gets so angry if he’s put in a semi-reclining position, and he strains to pull himself up to sitting, and actually manages it a lot.  I can no longer leave him for a second propped up in the corner of the couch, because he pulls himself up and then goes forward onto his face and tries to go head first off the edge of the couch!  He also loves to ‘stand’ – ie. be held under the arms and bear weight on his legs.  The look on his face is one of real triumph, so smug, like, ‘oh yeah, look at me!’

He’s also begun to have some really full on conversations with us.  He does this thing with his eyes as he chats where he scrunches them up, it’s so cute.  And his grabbing is getting really good.  I can now leave a toy within reach and he’ll grab it for himself.  He still gets frustrated very easily, and often tends to protest about something before it’s even happened yet.  It reminds me of the type of kid who, when mum says, ‘okay, how about we go and do….’ and before she even finishes explaining the plan, starts saying, ‘no, I don’t want to do that!’  He shouts and protests just because.  It’s cute, but I’m sure it’ll get to a point where he’s big enough to understand that shouting isn’t always the way, especially when you don’t really know what you want!

Did I update on the osteo? Well if not, the outcome wasn’t great.  He couldn’t finish the adjustment because the Dude had a meltdown!  The guy was like, ‘does he always do this?’ and I had to say, yeah, he does!  He reckoned he was in pain with his digestion and gave me instructions on going wheat and dairy free.  I had resisted up until that point, but thought, hey, maybe he is sensitive.  So I tried it.  And actually managed to avoid wheat and dairy, it was amazing, as I’ve never stuck to any kind of diet for more than about 48 hours before.  I’m convinced it hasn’t made that much of an impact and I realised later when the Dude fell asleep within about five minutes of being in the ergo after the osteo appointment that he was really just tired and I’d timed the visit totally wrong.  Since going dairy and wheat free we really haven’t had any proper meltdowns where he just gets distraught and I sit and let him cry in my arms, but at the same time I’ve begun a routine around sleeping.  I’ve started putting him to bed earlier, like by 7pm, sometimes earlier, and he’s having a bath every night, fresh outfit, then bed.  He hates being changed, but I’m sure he’ll get used to it.  The bath is going really well, he really relaxes and kicks around and makes little noises.

Anyway I’m still sticking more or less to the diet, and it’s definitely reduced the amount of mucus in my system and possibly in the Dude’s as well.  He’s definitely not intolerant, but I think he’s just like any normal person – too much dairy or bread and he doesn’t digest as well.  I also stopped taking all my supplements at night and I think that’s made a difference to him.  I take the odd bit of olive leaf extract in the morning, but I’m not taking anything else and he seems much less vomity than before.  Of course he still vomits but he’s full on, it’s what he does, and he drinks too much milk, but what are you gonna do?  As with everything else, the old adage still applies: this too shall pass.

Three-month ups and downs

So he was three months yesterday, a big milestone!  I don’t think I had any real expectations of what he’d be like at three months, in fact I don’t have expectations at all really.  But I guess at the moment he is having a hard time of it.  Sometimes I think I just don’t have the patience and focus to give him what he really needs, like if I wasn’t so interested in my own indulgences – tv, blogs, reading, eating, showering – I’d be more in harmony with him and he’d be happier.  I have these images in my head of other mums who are so in love with their babies and want to spend every waking moment with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love him very much and certainly miss him if he has a big sleep or if I have to leave him for a moment.  But right now he is quite unsettled and it can be trying.

Yesterday was slightly worse than today I guess, but today’s still been a bit difficult.  He is so demanding!  He wants constant stimulation, and just having toys dangling above him is not enough, he wants me, all the time!  And even then, he gets tired so quickly and then gets very cranky.  He’s started doing an angry/frustrated type of cry, like the equivalent of an adult saying, ‘gaah, for fuck’s sake, I’m pissed off now’!  It’s quite funny actually, but you have to take it seriously otherwise he just gets out of control and almost impossible to console.  I feel so horrible when he gets really upset, and it happens pretty much every day, usually when I finally realise I need to have a shower but he won’t go to sleep and won’t play by himself.  So I do what I did today, I lie him in his cot, hang some toys next to him, give him one of his ‘starfish’ Steiner-type toys to hold and prepare myself for his screams as I get into the shower, which get progressively more intense the longer I’m away from him.  It’s awful actually because when I get out and dressed and pick him up, he gives these little sobs as he calms down, and it’s obvious he’s really upset and has worked himself up so much.  I just wish there was a way to avoid that, but there isn’t because it’s so hard to get him to sleep by himself.  Even in the car he complains very loudly and works himself up into a frenzy very easily, it’s not good.  Luckily I am not easily distracted and can still drive while he screams, but it’s still not a nice experience for either of us and it’s such a relief when I can get him into the car and staying asleep, although that’s not often.  He has fallen asleep in the car before but only on the odd occasion, it doesn’t really rock him to sleep.  I guess we won’t be those parents who put their baby in the car to get him to sleep in desperation!

He is progressing in terms of his development well, I think, although I found out that a friend’s baby who was born the day before him is already pulling herself up onto her elbows during tummy time and even rolling over!  At three months!  Is this extreme?  Mind you, she’s also already getting teeth, so I think she’s an early one all round.  And girls progress faster than boys, that’s pretty much a given.  The Dude is getting great at gripping and holding things and almost always grabs and holds the little toy I give him every time I change him.  When he’s on his front and on his back he can swivel himself right round 90 degrees, and he does lift his head a fair bit quite easily.  He’s also becoming very vocal and has started making more high-pitched squeals and excited shouty type noises.  He and I have these little back and forth mimicking conversations and he loves it, just being able to communicate with me like that, to know that I can copy him and that his noise is really his own.  He’s also noticed his hands recently and I’ve caught him examining them intently.  We’ve both noticed his left hand is a bit more dominant than his right, but my mum says that’s just because we are right-handed, which makes sense.  His little outie belly button is finally becoming an innie, and his feet are catching up to his hands in size.  His thighs are so chubby I bought crawler nappies (6-11kg) for him, as the other nappies just weren’t staying on him properly because you can’t get them properly round his chunky thighs!  I have no idea what he weighs, as his last check was at 6 weeks and I think he weighed 5.5kg then, but I’m sure he’s at least 6.5 now, he is heavy.

So on the bright side, we finally put up his cot on the weekend, and it’s pretty cool, almost completely level with the bed.  There is a little gap between the bed and his cot, so I must get some masonite from Bunnings and put it between, then stuff the gap with towels or something so he doesn’t fall in it.  There’s not much chance of that happening now, as he’s not rolling over yet, but it won’t be much longer I’m sure.  It was really good to finally put him in his cot and be able to turn on my left side and have the bed back again, even if it was only for an hour or so.  It’s so much easier if he sleeps right next to me because he can pretty much latch himself on in the middle of the night when he wants a feed, and I don’t have to gingerly try to put him in his bed, we just both fall asleep as we are.  I must admit I was never a fan of the idea of co-sleeping, and the two main reasons for that were firstly I thought I’d squish him in the middle of the night or he’d suffocate, and secondly I like my space in the bed and I like my sleep and I didn’t think I’d have either with him there.  Turns out there’s no chance I’d squish him as I know he’s there, even when I’m asleep.  Plus my sleep is longer and better because he’s there; if he were in his own bed even next to ours I’d have to get up and wake up to feed him in the middle of the night.  But why wouldn’t I just train him to sleep through the night, you ask?  I think it’s really unnatural; think about it, how often do babies need to feed during the day?  Every hour, two hours, three hours?  Maybe every four hours, let’s say.  So why to they suddenly not need it during the night?  But he slept six hours during the night quite a few nights, he obviously doesn’t need it, right?  Wrong.  Just because he sometimes sleeps through for six hours doesn’t mean he doesn’t ever need feeds during the night.  I can see for myself that even slight variations to the way things unfold during the day, different levels of activity, different amounts of milk, different lengths of sleep at different times during the day, all add up to a different experience every night.  Yes, he has a routine, as much as you can impose one on a baby – why would I force something on him and make him miserable and myself stressed?  It’s much easier to be aware and notice the natural routine and support that.  I think it’s unfair of me to impose my routine on him – not that I have one I guess, but why would I try to force something when the natural way will unfold and he won’t ever have to be unhappy?  And seriously, I wouldn’t ever try control crying techniques, but even if I did I very much doubt they’d work on this kid without doing him a serious injury!  Sometimes when I’m in the shower and I can hear him crying and I just want to stay under the hot water a few moments longer, I do drag it out, I admit it, just to see if he’ll quiet himself and eventually go to sleep.  It never happens.  Yes, his cries sometimes get a bit quieter, and for a moment he stops, but within seconds he’s back on it again, crying his little heart out, and sometimes sounding like he’s being murdered, it’s awful!

I guess the one thing I could do to really help him is to go to bed early, like 9pm… but it’s really hard for me, I’m never tired that early, and I feel like I haven’t had enough wind-down time with my husband.  I’ve considered trying to put him down earlier, but it virtually never works, especially at night – he’s not a night person!  I’ve decided not to give up with getting him to sleep on his own.  I think a lot of people who end up always having to have their sleeping baby strapped onto them or sleeping next to them have just given up trying to get bubs to sleep in his own bed, so they say, oh he won’t sleep by himself, but what they mean is, he didn’t do it when he was two months old and we gave up trying.  I think babies just get to certain points and suddenly they’re cool with things.  It was that way for us, with sleeping.  I religiously sat up in bed to feed numerous times every single night until the Dude was 8 weeks old; until one morning I woke and realised he’d been asleep next to me from midnight til 6am – what?!  He got to a point and he was ready to stay lying down through the night, so he did that and now we never get up in the middle of the night (touch wood, don’t want to jinx anything!!)  I think the same thing will happen with sleeping by himself, and getting to sleep without being rocked or fed, he’ll do it when he’s ready.  I thought that time had come the other week when he fell asleep on the couch while I dangled a toy over his head, and that was a big breakthrough, even if it only lasted ten minutes and he hasn’t done it since.  This kid has a lot of energy running through his system, that’s all, and it’s hard to fall sleep when you’ve got ants in your pants.

That reminds me of the other thing I wanted to mention: I was thinking today about inherited stuff, and I really have this strong sense that one can inherit constitutional things and build ups of toxic energy from one’s ancestors.  I think it’s kind of like everyone collects stuff through their lives, and they don’t let it go during their lives, they let these toxins build up in them and pass them on at some energetic level to their children and grandchildren.  The Dude’s eczema rashy thing is a good example of that.  It’s like his body is fighting this crazy toxic heat, trying to throw it off, but being burdened by it, and it’s making him all hot and itchy inside.  I know this sounds weird and crazy, but I just get the impression this is what’s happening for him.  That’s why I am not taking him to a regular doctor as they’d just prescribe cortisone cream and tell me, oh lots of babies have eczema, same as when/if he gets asthma they’ll prescribe ventalin and tell me, oh lots of children have asthma.  Yeah, great, doesn’t mean we should just accept that it’s a part of childhood, right?  At some level I believe that these things are very constitutional and therefore I shouldn’t be interfering and should just let his body deal with it, but at another level I think they are inherited and I feel like we could do something cleansing that could release him from the burden of them.  Unlike childhood illnesses which run their course, provide immunity for future exposure and you never see them again, things like eczema and asthma are unnecessary.  So we’re off to the osteopath next week, just to see if some adjustment will help him.  The midwife still believes he went from breech to head down during labour, and if that’s the case it’s highly likely there will be something out of alignment.  I wonder if it will make a difference?  I’m determined not to tell the osteo too much and let him just do what he does and see the results.  Plus I need to convince my sceptical husband that it’s worthwhile, as he doesn’t think they do anything.  I’ll be sure to report back once we’ve been…  I’m trying to add more oil to my diet in the hope it will help his skin clear up, but if it’s still like this in a couple of weeks I’m going to take him to a homeopath or an anthroposophical doctor, if I can find a decent one.  I also rang the baby health centre people and they said the next checkup between 6 weeks and 6 months is at 4 months, so even though I’m wary I will take him down to the one at Bondi Beach and get him weighed and measured etc.  At some stage I’ve got to take him to a doctor and get the conscientious objection form signed, not looking forward to that experience!

Currently he is asleep in the ergo on my front.  Thank the good lord for baby carriers like the Ergo and Hugabub, they are amazing things and I am a better mother because of them!