Monday, February 28

Thursday, February 24

Walkin' on Sunshine

Andrew and I have been coaxing Milo to walk for the last couple of weeks (like you see in these photos, which were taken last week). He could stand fairly well, but he always panicked and wanted to either hold onto something or sit down.
But we persisted, and tonight he gave in. At eleven months and three days, Milo took his first steps!
Milo and I were in the living room, and he was playing with my work ID badge. He stood up all on his own, and balanced there for quite a while. He tentatively took a step, then three more before sitting down.
I cheered and clapped for him. He was all, what are you clapping for? To him, it was just another day. But to me, it was the first step toward a whole new beginning.

Sunday, February 20

What? Eleven months old? How can that be?

At eleven months, we still have one more month until Milo's next check-up, but I think he weighs between 20 and 21 pounds. No idea how tall he is. Tall enough to peer over the arm of the sofa.

At eleven months, Milo has begun to point at things he wants. For awhile, he just grunted and bounced in place when he wanted something. Now he points. Who taught him how to point?

At eleven months, Milo has figured out how many of his toys work. He rolls the timer on his kitchen set to hear his favorite song. He opens and shuts the tiny fridge door. He stacks the colored rings. He can make the ball popper start. He takes the puzzle pieces out and claps them together. I'm sure it won't be long before he can put the puzzle pieces back in the board.

At eleven months, Milo can cruise the furniture. He will stretch out an arm to get from the chair to the coffee table. His favorite routes are back and forth in front of the coffee table, and back and forth along the hearth and TV.

At eleven months, Milo will walk holding onto just one hand. We keep encouraging him to take his first steps, but he hesitates. He will stand independently, and can slowly lower himself to the ground, but he doesn't want to walk without support.

At eleven months, Milo likes to blow spit bubble. "Mmmmuuuuh. Mmmmuuuuh. Mmmmuuuuh," he'll say, over and over and over, with a very serious expression on his face. And these giant bubbles of spit spew forth from his mouth. Then the drool starts running down his face, soaking his shirt. He's pretty much in a drool bib all the time these days.

At eleven months, Milo has no patience for the spoon. He will shake his head no when we offer him food on a spoon, but will eat the same thing if he picks it up off the tray himself.

At eleven months, Milo is now riding rear-facing in his new convertible car seat. We've only been using the new seats for a few days, and things are going fairly well. Milo doesn't seem to love getting in the chair, but I think it's just because he isn't used to traveling this way. Even after just a few days, his protests are lessening.

At eleven months, Milo likes to crawl all over us to play. He likes to lean into us, then throw himself backward. Fortunately we caught on to this game, so we're ready to catch him before he hits the floor.

At eleven months, Milo likes veggies and meat, especially when they're mixed together in little meatballs.

At eleven months, Milo will sit in restaurant high chairs, but he leans his head back as far as he can, so he's looking at the ceiling. This makes me extremely nervous that he's going to choke.

At eleven months, Milo babbles and babbles. Sometimes he makes high-pitched screaming sort of noises, but cute ones.

At eleven months, Milo swipes his hands back and forth across his high chair tray when he is done eating. This is typically followed by throwing any remaining food on the floor, so it's usually our cue to clean him up.

At eleven months, Milo is a huge snuggler.

At eleven months, Milo still has just two teeth.

At eleven months, Milo likes to hang upside down, be tossed onto the bed, and run around with Daddy.

At eleven months, Milo doesn't twist and turn as much on the changing table. Not sure if it's because he's really any different or because we've started giving him his paci when he's on the table.

At eleven months, Milo definitely loves his pacifier.

At eleven months, Milo does not have a lovey.

At eleven months, Milo sleeps primarily on his tummy.

At eleven months, Milo still takes crappy naps at daycare and excellent naps in the arms of his grandmothers.

At eleven months, Milo's morning nap is beginning later in the morning. I wonder if he is beginning to phase it out.

At eleven months, Milo experiments a lot with new sounds. One of them is his new laugh, a low-pitched, fast growly sort of noise, like "Heh heh heh." Very fake-laugh sounding.

At eleven months, Milo sleeps through the night. And I'm going to say that without any caveats. About two or three weeks ago we just decided we weren't going to get up with him anymore. After a few nights of no problems, and one night of a solid two hours of crying, he's done really well. Aside from occasionally being ready to get up at 5am, I love his new sleeping pattern.

At eleven months, I want to keep Milo this age for a few months. He's awfully cute right now. I'm not ready for him to be one year old yet.

The only title for this post that I could think of was "Got Milk?" So there you go.

A couple months ago, Milo's pediatrician told us that he had gotten too skinny and needed to put on some weight. He had gained weight pound-wise (albeit very slowly) but had dropped too far down on the growth chart. The doctor recommended continuing to breastfeed, but thought we should turn my three daily pumpings into two bottles, then also give him a third bottle of formula.

I was crushed. I had made it nine months without giving Milo a drop of formula, and now my supply wasn't enough to keep my baby healthy. I had failed, and no way could anyone convince me otherwise. After the initial breastfeeding troubles, it was probably the lowest point of my mothering career thus far. Many, many tears were shed, but after a couple of days, I came to the conclusion that though I knew that supplementing with formula would likely make my supply problem worse, not better, I also knew that my current supply just wasn't adequate for Milo's needs, and I wasn't willing to spend every waking hour pumping. I already hated the three times a workday I spent hooked up to that loud, beeping monstrosity, and I was not interested in upping that to four or five times a day. So formula it was.

Andrew and I talked and came up with a plan. We had three days of daycare before the Christmas holiday started, so we'd try giving Milo formula for those three days, then hopefully being with him and nursing over the long break would help increase my supply to better match his actual needs. So Monday, Day 1 of our plan came; we sent two 5-oz bottles of breastmilk and one bottle of formula, along with his regular breakfast and lunch. When I picked Milo up that night, I learned that he apparently had been so full that he hadn't finished his breastmilk bottle (I guess they gave him the formula first) and five ounces of liquid gold just got poured down the drain. FAIL. No more formula was sent to daycare.

After the long Christmas holiday, I did seem to be able to pump a little more, but not a lot more. We just began sending more solids to daycare with Milo, and loading everything he ate up with butter, cheese, and olive oil. And he definitely began to gain weight. We returned to the doctor for a weight check one month later, and he was up about two pounds. We felt pretty good about that, and I quit worrying so much about how much I was able to pump.

But over the last few weeks, my pumping output has gotten smaller and smaller. When I started pumping five months ago, I would get about four ounces per session. After awhile, that became a steady three ounces a session. I am now down to one or two ounces per session. I cannot tell you how much I stressed about this. I began going through my freezer stash of expressed milk (which, again, I knew wasn't going to help my supply) because I wanted Milo to get enough and I wasn't willing to increase the number of pumping sessions I had.

After a couple weeks of stressing over this, I realized that my mindset had shifted. I went from stressing about how I wasn't pumping enough to stressing that Milo wasn't getting enough to eat. And I think that was sort of profound. Whereas before I was of course worried that Milo wasn't eating enough, I only worried about it in relation to my milk supply. Now I just wanted to be sure he was getting enough calories, no matter what the source.

Plus, I was ready to quit pumping. My goal all along had been to pump at work until Milo turned one, then start weaning from that while continuing to nurse him in the mornings and before bed. But now, as he turns 11 months old, I'm ready to start weaning from the pump. Honestly, I think Milo has been helping me do that for the last few weeks anyway. When he's hungry during the day, he ups the amount of solid foods he eats, he doesn't wait until he's with me at night and then nurse more.

But if I was going to start decreasing my pumping, what was going to replace the breastmilk in his diet? I'd use my freezer stash first, but that wouldn't last long. What then? Could he go ahead and have cow's milk, even though they say not until the first birthday? I did some research and called the doc, and it seems that at this point, as long he drinks enough water and eats plenty of food (with lots of calcium-rich veggies and all that good balanced nutrition) he doesn't really need to replace the breastmilk with anything. And since I've been drinking cow's milk, Milo can go ahead and have that, too. So wow. It was really going to happen.

And starting tomorrow, I'm going to begin weaning from the pump. And I'm truly, honestly ready for that.

Friday, February 18

Funny You Should Ask

Why, yes, that is LL Cool J posing with one of Hallmark's Recordable Storybooks. And not just any Recordable Storybook, but the pretty pink one called My Little Princess.

photo pulled from the Hallmark intranet site

Sunday, February 13

Worst Baby Book Ever

I miss posting on this blog. I really would like to share more with all my loyal readers. (Hi, Readers! Sorry about the lack of content! I hope you still like me!!!!1exclam!!1) But I have been uninspired lately. I'm super busy at work, it's been very wintry outside, the chores never end, and... I don't really have any good reasons. (Unless you count how Andrew began P90X a few weeks ago and has been using my computer to view his workout nearly every evening, making blogging much more difficult.) And I know I'm doing that thing I used to do in college, where I just sort of shut down when the list of things to do (or in this case, write about) got so long and overwhelming that it seemed impossible to catch up on. So I put it off until the last minute. In college, the last minute was the due date or final. In blogging, I don't have that safety net. I can ignore this thing eternally.

But I don't want to do that. I want this blog to serve as Milo's baby book and my back-up memory. I want it to be my phone calls with long-distance family and friends, and my hi-how-are-you notes to the people I care about. So I promise to keep trying, keep writing, and keep sharing photos of my adorable baby. Because I know that's all you're here for, anyway.

Tonight I give you a few short updates/random thoughts.
  • I've been in a decorating mood lately. I'm working on our office, the master bedroom, the dining room, and the future playroom (but only sort of half-assed on the playroom). The office is looking fantastic, and I have so many ideas for our bedroom I'm bursting.
  • I have successfully given away a bunch of weights using the website (or something; it was a yahoo group) and I would like to get rid of more stuff. Which reminds me: Jeff, if you would still like that rustic-looking wooden thing with the mirror and the coat hooks, it's all yours. You can pick it up whenever you like. Thanks.
  • Milo shakes his head "no" ALL THE TIME. I am not convinced he fully understands what "no" means, but he does use the head shake to turn down food, refuse a nose-wipe, request a different game, and indicate that he is done with dinner.
  • I would like a bed from Ikea. The Edland four-poster bed. If anyone would like to get one for me and bring it to me, I would like that very much.
  • I stripped our cloth diapers today with a little Dawn dish soap, some nearly boiling water, and a whole bunch of rinses. Cross your fingers that they quit leaking. And to all the ladies at daycare, please quit using Desitin with our cloth diapers!
  • The voice-recognition product I spent months working on a year and a half ago has made it to Hallmark stores, and it's selling really well. I'm quite proud of it, actually, so please go check out the new Interactive Storybook & Story Buddy from Hallmark. Cooper the Bear and Watson the Raccoon are both available, and they're both really fun and cute.
  • Milo's first birthday is just around the corner, and I am going with a robot theme. I wanted to make a robot cake, but since I'm no pastry chef, I thought it best to practice. Well. This weekend I attempted my first cake, and, well, Robot Cake = FAIL. I am now considering a hopefully much simpler Rice Krispie treat robot. That doesn't sound too hard, does it? Of course, I didn't think the cake would be that hard, either...
  • We ordered two convertible car seats this weekend. Milo is just way too big to keep carrying around in that infant seat. Technically, he can go in it until he's 30 pounds, but a) he's heavy enough in that seat at 20 pounds, and b) he's very close to maxing out the height. So time for a new seat. The seat that sounded great online is not available in any local stores, so I ordered it sight unseen. Hope we like it.
  • My weight loss is not going well, as of late. I keep eating like crap, and the scale is reflecting it. It sucks and makes me mad at myself.
  • I have a confession to make: We pay people to clean our house. There, I said it. I've been feeling inadequate because I hardly ever clean anything, and lazy because I don't want to spend my short amount of free time cleaning, and awful because good moms probably vacuum occasionally or something. I didn't want to admit that we can't even keep our own house clean so I have hardly told anyone that we got a housecleaning service. But the silence ends now. And for the record, I totally recommend paying someone to clean your home. It's much nicer than cleaning it yourself.
  • My husband has spectacular legs. When he does his P90X ab workout, his shorts slide up when he does reverse crunches and such, and let me tell you, those are some nice legs he's showing off.
Come on, guys. Is putting a napkin on my head really necessary?
Okay, I admit it, that was kind of fun. Again?

Tuesday, February 8

Hand Gestures (the Not-Rude Ones)

Milo is learning how to use his hands. We got the high-five down weeks ago, and we've been working on waving. He is definitely getting better at understanding when waving is appropriate, and in fact might overuse the wave. He waves at the kitty, he waves at us during dinner, he waves at the doorway when he hears Daddy downstairs. And occasionally he even waves hello or bye-bye.

Milo has also begun clapping. Ohmygoodness, is it cute! It's a silent clap, but he claps with his entire body. Arms flailing, body bouncing up and down. He gets so excited. But he also claps at odd times—when nursing, for example. I guess he just thinks my milk is worth applauding.

I think blowing kisses should be his next hand gesture. I've been blowing a lot of kisses his way, but so far he seems unimpressed.

I've also been (rather sporadically) introducing some sign language, and he has yet to use any of those signs either. The main ones I'm working on are "more" and "all done." "Milk" is secondary, mostly because I keep forgetting to use that one (plus it's harder for him to see me sign something when he's nursing).

I just love seeing him learn all these new things. It's so amazing to see what he's picking up on when I don't even notice it. I just love that kid.