Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby's First Haircut

Colin and I made an impromptu trip to CT to visit Erin and the boys. Sean was going to be at school all evening and Erin's husband was out of town on business so I decided to drive up and visit. Since Erin didn't get out of class until 12 I decided to go and get Colin's hair cut at the same place Sam and Ben go. After a bit of a hairy last hour of the drive Colin was not too pleased about this new chair he was being strapped into, or the stranger who was man handling his head. Here are the photos.
BEFORE:
DURING: (poor baby)



AFTER:


Am I happy with this cut, no not really. I understand why it was necessary but I'm not a huge fan of the buzz cut. His hair isn't soft anymore and he still looks like he has a mohawk. However, I do concede that the after is better than the before.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Visit to the Queens Zoo.

This weekend we took Colin to the queens zoo. It is a pretty small zoo but it has a petting zoo. We didn't really expect Colin to care much but we needed to get him out of the house on such a pretty day so off we went.

Here is Colin trying to get the Llama's. They had two baby llama's that were very cute.

Turns out Colin was more into the animals that we thought. Here he is reaching to a goat. We didn't actually let him touch any of the animals... I'm sure it would have been fine but we decided to err on the side of caution.

Colin and a sheep!

Reaching out again. Yes I think I have the whitest child on earth. Don't worry he had sunscreen on!


Colin and I check out the Scottish Cow. I'm pretty sure the cow didn't want his nose picked by Colin so I'm holding him back.


Father and Son looking at the bears.


And the trip home... we were about 45mins late for his afternoon nap and he made sure to let us know!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Colin eats an ice pop!

I found some HFCS free ice pops so I let Colin try one. Check out his reaction. Too cute.

Colin eating an ice pop. from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

Sleeping Successes

I'm attempting to reject superstition and go ahead and discuss the success we have had with sleeping this week. After a very awful week or so, the last five days or so have been going really well. Colin has been sleeping 4-5 1/2 hours at a stretch between 9/10 and 2/3. Last night he only woke up TWICE! That is a miracle in my opinion. I attribute our success to a few things.
  1. I re-instated a 3:30 feeding. I had him not eating until 5:00 but during our very bad week I had mistakenly tried to replace another daytime nursing session with formula. It went very badly and I had to feed Colin overnight because he was just so hungry. The next night he slept 5 hours until 3:30 and woke up hungry so I decided to 'reward' his long sleep by allowing him to nurse (and I was just so exhausted from the previous horrible night, I couldn't stomach the idea of fighting with him for hours again.) Since then he seems to be compromising with me. If I let him eat at 3:30, he will sleep from 9/10ish until around that time. He then goes back to sleep until 5:30/6:00.
  2. The more he eats during his dinner meal the longer he sleeps. I'm really trying to boost protein and calories with his last real meal of the day. If he eats 4oz or more it seems to lead to 4+ hours of sleeping. He is a much better eater lately so this has become realistic.
  3. He is starting to allow stomach sleeping. It was an accident that he ended up on his stomach one night, I thought for sure I would be back in his room in 10 mins but he slept 5 hours. The next night Sean got him to roll onto his stomach again and he stayed down for 4 hours. Now we are really encouraging this new position. Sean discovered that patting him on the back fast and firmly discourages him from pushing up to a crawl and he goes to sleep.
I know we will still have setbacks, but if we can get into a rhythm with this schedule I will be SO pleased. This schedule would mean I only have to get up ONE TIME at night.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Colin is 10 months old.

There are so many cute pictures from yesterday that I'm giving you more than the typical amount in the monthly update.

This post should have gone up yesterday (the 17th) but we were visiting my family upstate for my cousin's birthday. Colin was a very good boy and had a great time performing for everyone.

So here is what Colin is up to at ten months old (no size stats this month):
Sleeping: The biggest change in sleeping this month is that he no longer has a nurse-to-sleep association. I think this is a pretty big deal, even though it hasn't lead to an increase in sleeping duration. I would have liked to report more good news this month but our baby boot camp was canceled due to our unscheduled illness mid month. He had been doing better until about a week after he started crawling. Apparently we hit the typical nine month old sleep recession HARD. I have been up with him for 20 mins of nearly every hour the last few nights. Prior to this he had been waking up once or twice between 7 and 12 and then waking up around 2:35 and 4:45. If he gets into this pattern again I have a plan to break him of the habitual waking. I'm expecting things to return to pre-crawling sleeping over the next week (that's optimism for ya!)

Eating: Colin if self feeding most of his meals these days, as documented here. I can still feed him about 3-4 oz of typical baby food in between his own bites of solid foods. He is even eating green foods that he had previously rejected. I've been warned that these days are numbered so I'm trying to maximize his healthy veggie eating while I have the chance. Likes:
  • Self feeding. Man does this kid love to put food in his own mouth!
  • Going out. You should see how excited he gets when he head toward the door.
  • Grocery shopping. He has really started enjoying our trips to the grocery store. He rides in the cart and attracts attention from anyone and everyone. Last month he was much more stranger shy, this month he is drawing people in like flies to honey.
  • An audience. Once he warms to a crowd this child loves to perform and be the center of attention.
  • The new car seat. He seems to like the new vantage point to see out the window.
  • Turning the pages in his books. He can pass a good 15-30 mins just paging through his books. It is very sweet.
Dislikes:
  • Getting dressed. I think Colin might be a wrestler when he gets older, he has some pretty impressive evasive maneuvers.
  • Face washing. He still cries and fights it every time.
New Things
  • Car seat. I think this was actually new last month but I never mentioned it. We switched out his infant car seat just before Easter. He seems to like the new one, although moving him if he falls asleep in the car is no longer easy.
  • Colin is now standing without support for up to about 30 seconds. He loves every minute of it. He was pulling up last month and now he lets go.
  • He walks with support, and will wander around the furniture. He certainly has the bruises to show for his new hobby.
New Words/Signs
  • We have made big strides in the communication aspect this month. Colin is saying 'mama' and 'dada' with regularity and knows who he wants when he says them.
  • Our new favorite is that he says and signs 'all done' actually he just says 'ah da' but he only says it when he is ready to get out of the high chair. He actually signs 'all done' in a variety of situations: when he is getting dressed, when his face is being cleaned, when we are strapping him into the stroller. It is actually pretty cute that he is attempting to assert himself. (I say that now...)
  • He actually signed more today spontaneously but it probably doesn't count for this post.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Favorite Things for feeding babies.

All the products included in my 'Favorite Things' I have purchased and tried on my own accord. None of the companies that make these products have asked me to review them.

Boon Squirt I am not exaggerating when I tell you this is the greatest baby innovation I have come across to date! I have only had this spoon for about a week and a half and do not know why I waited so long to get it or how I lived without it. You load up the food in the back and it gently squeezes out a pin size hole in the top of the spoon. It holds a jar of food and it makes feeding while you are out of the house very neat and easy In fact I fed Colin with it while he was in a grocery cart and I was shopping!! We've also used it at the mall, at a bbq and while in the car. I love it I love it I love it, I wish I got two. It also comes in hot pink! The one downside is the spoon is a little deep so I have to angle it just right to get all the food off of it and in his mouth. As with the rest of these favorites, they are PVC, BPA and phthalte free.

Bumpkins Super Bibs They aren't kidding when they say these are super bibs! They are ideal for use with babies eating solids (as opposed to bottle feeding) The bibs are made of a special waterproof fabric that cleans up with a simple wipe, but when they get too dirty they can go right in the wash. Way better than using a cloth bib that can only be used once and gets stained. Ideal for traveling too because you can bring fewer bibs along. Did I mention they are PVC FREE and wipe-able?!? Plus the little pouch catches food really well but also serves as a food holder for eating puffs in the car seat (my 'snack traps' havn't arrived yet but this works for now)

Sassy Feeding Bowl Set The great thing about these bowls is the suction cup base that attaches to any of the bowls so you can lock it onto the tray or table. When I give Colin fruit I like to use the bowl so I can spare the stickiness being rubbed all over the tray (and then his sleeves.) It isn't fool proof because he can pull pieces out and put them on the tray but it definitely decreases the mess. These are not the only bowls with bases like this but they are the only ones I saw with removable suction cups, and they weren't that expensive compared to other suction bowls.They have lids too so I toss them in the diaper bag and go directly from bag to table. Love them! I only wish they came with more than one suction cup so I could use two bowls at once (lets just get crazy!)

Play and Learn Baby Spoon affectionately referred to as the 'rocket spoon'. This spoon, for whatever reason has allowed me to get more food into Colin than a normal baby spoon. Its purpose is to help babies learn to self feed but Colin just likes to eat off of it more than other spoons. I generally start with a normal spoon and pull this one out when things start going south. I can also let him hold it and help him scoop food off of it. The double ended nature means there isn't a pointy end to get shoved down his throat. It also seems to hold more food and make less of a mess than a traditional baby spoon. Anything that gets more food in Colin is a winner in my book!
n.b. While Colin is a 'big boy' he is not a good eater. Obviously I'm not worried about him not thriving but in order to wean him I have to get him to take more solids. More on weaning another time.


Fruit Pizza

Since BBQ season is upon us, I thought I would give you my favorite recipe to bring along because it's pretty and delicious! We had our first BBQ of the season on Mother's Day and this was a huge hit. It was introduced to me by our neighbor growing up. My memory of hers was that fruit was added in a random pattern to look like a pizza. I do mine more like a tart, mainly because I'm anal and like things in patterns. I think it is more impressive that way but you can do it however you like. A few people asked for the recipe so here it is.

For the Crust and Sauce.
  • 1 pkg refrigerator sugar cookie dough
  • 8 oz of cream cheese softened
  • 4.5 oz whipped dairy topping (Cool Whip)
Fruit (you can use anything you want but I use these)
  • Strawberries (you'll need about a pint or less)
  • Banana (1 large or 2 med)
  • Kiwi (2ish)
  • Pineapple (1 can of chunks in its own juice and save the juice!)
  • Blueberries (about a pint)
Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2c pineapple juice
Press the cookie dough into a pizza pan to make the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 mins (This can vary depending on the thickness of your crust/ size of your pizza pan.) Cool. Whip cream cheese and topping together and spread over the cooled crust. Next place your fruit in any pattern you like. I try to separate the pineapple and banana because they are both yellow.

For the glaze: boil the ingredients for one min. It helps to dissolve the cornstarch before you add the sugar to avoid clumps (if you do get small clumps don't worry about it they aren't noticeable.) Spoon over the fruit paying special attention to the bananas.

Chill before serving. Take to BBQ. Impress your friends/family.

I wish I took a picture of mine but I didn't.. here is one I found on the internet that is pretty (prettier in fact that mine was anyway, although mine usually has more fruit on it) it looks like they used mandarin oranges and no pineapple or banana. You can get really creative!

Try and and tell me how much your family loved it!

P.S. Check back this evening for another installment of my favorite things!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lesson Learned...

Turns out it isn't just the size of a food that can make it a choking hazard!! While out shopping for new finger foods I found some dried peas and thought they would make a good finger food, it even said so on the packaging (although I now submit that it says good for toddlers finger food). They are a little on the crunchy side so we gave him one and watched to see what he did with it. He popped it in his mouth, we heard and audible crunch and he reached for another from my hand. He definitely liked them, so we put more on his tray. At the end of his meal he started to cough and that quickly turned into a choking sound. Sean was right there with him and quickly swept out his mouth. What we found was about 12 peas in his mouth that he hadn't swallowed along with a goldfish or two. Apparently Colin was hording them in his mouth (remind you of anyone Mom?!? [for the rest of you the answer is ME, I had to have two root canals at age 8ish because I would store meat in my cheeks so I didn't have to swallow it].) I think it might have been the skins on the peas that were causing the problem because he couldn't break them up (without molars). He continued to spit out pea skins over the next half hour. We won't be offering those again anytime soon!

I was also considering offering raisins but I'm now thinking that is also a bad idea. So much to learn!!! Where the heck do they tell you this stuff?!? I feel like a dumb *** for not knowing this but who chokes on something the size of a PEA!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finger foods!


Colin went through a stage where he was totally un-interested in food, or more specifically in being fed! He had been interested in eating his puffs, but that was it. So after visiting Erin and watching her boys eat all finger foods I decided to try to see if Colin would eat other finger foods. I had tried banana but he had a hard time holding it because it is so slippery and mushy. Turns out he loves feeding himself, and I can actually get some food purees in hi in between bites of other foods. In fact he actually ate pureed broccoli (sharing the spoon with a little pear) the other night! I'll list out the foods we've tried and if you have other ideas I'm all ears.
Colin Likes:
  • banana (torn by hand so it is less slippery)
  • baked apple pieces
  • grapes (cut into 8 pieces each)
  • baby Goldfish
  • Ritz type crackers (broken)
  • graham crackers (Keebler grahams have no HFCS but they do have partially hydrogenated oils...still looking for a better option)
  • some cheeses
  • Baby Mum-Mum (broken)
Colin does NOT like:
  • toast
  • waffles (trader joes brand or Kashi)
  • string cheese
  • kiwi
We have yet to try:
  • cooked carrots, peas, beans
  • cereal bars (I hear Kashi makes one with no HFCS but I cant' find it)
  • blueberries
Got any other ideas?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sleep Crawling?!?!

As if I Colin doesn't have enough sleep issues, we can now add sleep crawling to the list. We know when it happens because a loud *crack* can be heard through It is very clear that he isn't really awake and it only takes a brief second to but him back down to sleep but COME ON!!! We have enough interruptions in his sleep to deal with, I didn't need to add this to the problem. Now what do I do? Do I put the bumper pads back in? The crib makes a loud sound when he hits it but I don't think it really hurts him.

I can tell you I am really really regretting NOT getting the video monitor. I have always sort of wished we had gotten one, because he is such I light sleeper that I wake him up if I go in. That means I go to bed without checking on him and have a very hard time falling asleep because I feel like I left something hanging. Its like when you drive away from the house thinking 'Did I remember to lock the door?' or 'Did I leave the iron on?' you just have this feeling of unease until you check... Now I REALLY wish I had it. We used to be able to hold off a second and wait to hear if Colin was going to resettle himself (which he was doing with some frequency) but now he sits up, or worse, pulls himself up and can't seem get back down. By the time we have waited to hear if he is resettling he is fully awake and ANGRY about it so it takes a lot longer to put him back to sleep. If I had the video monitor I could see if he was standing and respond more quickly. It seemed so silly and paranoid when I was registering, of course now it seems silly to invest in a video monitor when we are going to be outgrowing the need for monitors (and have a very good rather $$ audio monitor.) UGH!

By the way, Colin remains fully cured of the nurse to sleep issue. Sean even put him to sleep on Saturday night and he barely made an ounce of protest...

Friday, May 8, 2009

He has changed me.

There is a comercial that says "Having a baby changes everything" and while I think that statement is a little too broad, (I'm a literalist) having a baby does change a lot of things. Here are just a few examples of how Colin has changed me.

  1. I no longer return carts to the cart corrals! I used to be a stickler about this and would always return my cart. Stray carts caused me to inwardly shake my fist at the lazy person who left it. Then I went on my first shopping trip with Colin. He was snapped into the car seat and there I was holding the cart thinking 'I'm supposed to walk half way across the parking lot and leave my baby alone in the car' Yeah right! I parked that puppy right next to the car and moved on with my life. I do appreciate stores that have 'Customers with Infants' parking spots right next to cart corrals.
  2. I no longer sign my full name at the check out counter. I used to be a stickler about my signature. I don't know why I just liked writing my whole name when I signed credit card receipts. I have always teased Sean because his last name has gotten progressively shorter the longer I've know him (now it is just By). My new signature is just R. Berry. I'm always frantic feeling by the time I get to the signature part of a shopping trip that I just don't have the mental energy to sign my whole name. If its an actual paper receipt and I'm holding Colin, you have no idea how WONDERFUL it is for a check out clerk to actually HOLD THE PAPER so I don't have to use two hands.
  3. I occasionally leave the apartment without make-up on! I almost NEVER did this pre-baby. I generally don't wear a lot of make-up so some people don't even realize I'm wearing it when I am (that's the point in my opinion) but I rarely left the apartment without at least a little bit on. Now I would say about 20% of the time I leave without putting anything on, and mostly because I don't even think about it until I'm in the car and catch my reflection in the rear view mirror.

How has/did having a baby/children change/d you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 3.

No protests at all today. I'm calling him cured! I worried about this step for a LONG time, I'm very shocked how quickly he gave it up. Do I regret not trying sooner? Not really... I think he was ready to give it up and I've been laying the ground work for a while. What I do regret is spending so much time worrying about it and googling 'breaking a nurse to sleep association'. I want those hours back!!
Next week we start pushing him to go to sleep without being held. I think the intermediate step (before plopping him in the crib and hoping for the best) will be to lay him on the twin bed when he closes his eyes (with me near him) and try to get him to drift off to sleep without being held. The other alternative might be for me to just crawl in the crib with him.
I have to say, once I have him going to sleep on his own, I will really miss snuggling with my sleepy baby. Colin is such a cuddly kid, I hope he doesn't loose that when he starts putting himself to sleep. I know this is for the best, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Pictures for my Mother!

Colin loves to crawl under things. The result isn't always pretty.Here Mom! One of your favorites... *I think*
Colin, Sean and a Dogwood tree *I think* (Colin has sunscreen in his hair making it stick to his head like that)


Becky Colin and a hill of daffodils. What you can't see is the creepy old man on the other side of the camera who wouldn't stop talking to us.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 2 of "ripping off the band-aid"


Nap #1: The worst protest yet, it wasn't longer just LOUDER. We started the process at 8:50am and I laid him down at 9:15am.

Nap #2: No problem! He only protested for about 3 or 4 minutes and then just settled onto my shoulder and went to sleep. 1:56pm-2:16pm
Bedtime: No protest at all. He even let me sit down before he was asleep and rock him to sleep. Sitting used to mean nursing, so if I sat he would think he was going to nurse and would restart a protest when he wasn't allowed to.

Things are going well on Day 2! Mama is winning.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Progress

A long and boring blog about our progress with Colin's sleep issue. (I think most people are probably sick of reading about this but for posterity sake I'm continuing to document it!)

We have turned a huge corner (in my opinion) in our constant quest for a full nights sleep. No Colin has not yet started putting huge chunks of time together while sleeping, but I have been making huge progress in curing him of his need to nurse to sleep. He has been doing very well at night taking the final step of going to sleep without nursing but still needed nursing to relax and settle into 'sleep mode'. Nap time was always trickier because I live in fear of the skipped nap. However this past weekend I was toying with the idea of just ripping the band-aid off and stopping it this week. This week was supposed to be 'Boot Camp Week' starting Wednesday night, Sean had even taken Thursday and Friday off of work but after us being so sick last week we aren't ready for boot camp yet (and Sean was happy not to miss more work.) We will get back to it but I'm thinking I can accomplish pieces of the goal without the extreme measures yet of the 'pick up/ put down' routine.

Last night after arriving home late from Long Island, Colin didn't show much interest in nursing (having eaten right before we got in the car) so I just held him and sang him some songs until he feel asleep on my shoulder. Feeling empowered I only allowed him to nurse for about 5 mins before his first nap of the day today and NOT AT ALL before his second. There was a good bit of crying involved, particularly before his second nap. At one point I looked at the clock and said to myself 'if he is still crying at 2:30 (ten mins away) I'll let him nurse', but by 2:30 I was laying him down in his crib fast asleep! Tonight I even decided to switch the order of his bed time nursing session and his story time with Daddy. Again. he cried and struggled in my arms but it lasted less than 15 mins and he was asleep. I know people think I'm crazy for not laying him down and letting him cry it out alone, but all I can say is I can't do it. Having him cry in my arms is 100% different than having him cry by himself.

I realize I have just substituted one crutch for another at this point but it is such an improvement! I am one step closer to putting him down and walking away and having him drift peacefully off to sleep. I find myself using an approach similar to one outlined in 'The No-Cry Sleep Solution' but I'm actually allowing him to cry a bit and having much more success. This isn't 'easy as pie', but it isn't nearly as hard as I expected it to be. Tomorrow should be easier, and by Friday I hope to have no problems at all!

Our overnight weaning has seen some set backs during my illness and subsequent decrease in supply, but we are working back toward the 4am goal we were achieving last week. The night before I got sick Colin actually slept from 9:00pm to 2:00am, that is FIVE HOURS, that is technically "through the night"! The best part, I was also asleep most of that time, waking with quite a start at 1:30 with the odd feeling that I had overslept. Colin has been doing well going back to sleep quickly without nursing most nights, and at least once a night he resettles himself without us even needing to tend to him. It doesn't help that 'city noise' (horns, alarms, fire trucks, etc.) causes at least 20% of his night wakings. All in all, I'm very encouraged by our progress on all fronts! Baby steps I know, but very important baby steps in my opinion.

A random picture (from our trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) to reward you for reading all this: