Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Works For Us

When I found out I was pregnant I started to think more seriously about parenting. This massive responsibility loomed before us, and I wanted to be sure we got off to the best start possible with our little munchkin. And so I naively set off to research things - what books should I read? what things do we need to get for baby? what is best for baby? how should he sleep/eat/play/poop?... and so on. What I came upon was a vast wealth of overwhelming and often contradicting information. There are so many opinions about how to raise a child, and these differing opinions are often backed up by scientific studies.

What I've found is that there are generally two camps in child-rearing - some people in the more traditional/mainstream camp (associated practices include parent-led schedules, baby sleeps independently, cry-it-out sleep training, traditional authoritative discipline, vaccinating on schedule etc.), and others in the attachment parenting camp (associated practices include babywearing, cosleeping, gentle & positive discipline, baby-led schedules, delayed/no vaccinating etc.). Thomas calls the latter "hippie parenting"... haha.

And so I was faced with many more questions than answers as I began my research - how was I supposed to know what was the "right way" to do things? Should I vaccinate him or not? Co-sleep or put baby in his crib? Breastfeed exclusively or bottle feed occasionally? Let him cry it out or not? What kind of toys should I let him play with? Should he watch TV?

I have realized that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to raise your baby. You do what works for you and your baby. What YOU feel is right for your family. It might even be different for each baby in your family. And what is right for your family won't necessarily be right for another family. And that is perfectly fine. My personality resonates with more of the attachment parenting principles, but Thomas tends to think more traditionally. If you were to put us in a "camp" (a mere 4 and 1/2 months into this parenting journey), we've settled on some middle ground, slightly more on the attachment parenting side of things. We've found that works best for us and for Judah so far. We also keep our minds very open to the fact that we may change our thinking/methodology as Judah gets older and as we have more children. If there is one thing I have learned about babies, it's that they're constantly changing and that you have to adapt as you go along. What works one week may not work the next week!

The way I learned the most while I was researching was by real peoples' experiences. I loved to hear what other mommas/parents did and how they came to their decisions.  So, I'm starting a little blog post series entitled "What Works For Us" - partly for my own clarity (I clarify my jumbled thought processes when I write) and also hopefully to be helpful to anyone out there who likes to read and learn from peoples' experiences, like I do. I don't have any special knowledge, I just have what works for us.

And truly, going back to the basics... all a healthy baby really needs is a roof over his head, food in his tummy, and loving arms to hold him. Everything else is an add-on... sure, it may make life easier, but you really don't NEED anymore than that! We try to keep things simple, but there are some pretty useful gadgets out there... so, coming soon - What works for us: helpful baby products (0-3 months).

And what's a blog post without some eye candy?
Sweet Jude.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Better idea, and sweetness

So I don't know why it took me this long to get around to it, but I just imported the "Baby Appleseed" blog into the Congdon Chronicles. It's hard enough to keep up with one blog, and I was starting to have a hard time deciding where to post something since mostly all I write about and post pictures of is Judah anyways. He is kind of the center of the universe, you know. In my eyes :)

So here's to [hopefully] blogging more frequently now that it's all in one place. I have lots of pictures and events to catch up on... if my ancient computer would just stop overheating and shutting down every time I try to edit or upload pictures.


As I was writing this post (I'm up wayyyy too late), Judah woke up to eat. "Woke up" is too strong of an expression, really. He whimpers in his sleep and roots around looking for his food source, and if I don't pick him up and feed him the whimpering turns to crying and he wakes up for real. So I fed him in his half asleep state and burped him, and then rocked him for a few minutes. He was lying peacefully in my arms and I whispered down to him "Mommy loves you Judah". His little eyes fluttered open and he cracked half a smile. A sleepy little "ahhhh-gooo" came out as he reached his little hand up and put it on my mouth. He looked up at me contentedly for a few seconds before slowly closing his eyes again and snuggling up.

Ahhh. This is what it's all about.


I'll leave you with a picture of that adorable face that I spend my days kissing.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Four months old!


Oh my goodness what a delightful age this is! You are so much fun, baby boy. Your squeals and laughter are music to my ears. I’m so blessed to spend every waking moment with you. I love to watch you explore and discover new things, new sensations, new emotions… and come up with new sounds and expressions of delight.

Posing for the camera.

Chill.

Blowing bubbles.

Eating hands.

Playing with hands.

Blowing more bubbles.

Trying to escape.

It's getting harder to keep him still for pictures!

"Hi mom!"

"You're pretty funny looking with that camera in your face!"

The ever present drool.

Cuteness.

Talkin'

Big four month old!

I was entertaining him with a rattle.

He wanted to play with it.

All better!


How big you are:

At your 4-month pediatrician appointment on 06/14/12 you weighed 17lbs 6oz (90th %)! You were 25.5 inches long (75th%), and you head was 43cm (75th %). You are still a big boy – you gained more than 2 pounds between 3 and 4 months! You are wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothes, and some 6-9 and 9 month clothes too. We recently moved you on up to size 3 diapers… size 2 still fit you all right, but you were starting to “explode” out of them more. (Side note: we are waiting a few months before starting up cloth diapers again because they were just so bulky that they were hampering your movement! You roll and scoot and wriggle much more when you’re in disposables. And also, momma is having a hard time getting on top of all the laundry J).

Your pediatrician was very impressed with your health, strength and alertness. You’ve passed all your milestones with flying colors… you are laughing, “talking”, playing with toys, grabbing at everything, rolling both ways, scooting on your belly, almost sitting, and you love to stand while holding onto our hands. The past few weeks you have been learning new things like crazy!

What you love:

As always, you LOVE your bath time. This month you started playing your first game with us! While you’re in the bath, you will lift your legs up in the air, then wait and make sure we’re looking on excitedly. Then you fling your legs down and make a HUGE splash… and we have to say (with great excitement) “BIG SPLASH!” and clap our hands… and you just laugh and laugh, and then start all over again!

You LOVE to jump in your jumperoo. I’m so glad we got that for you – we get at least two good hours of playtime out of that thing every day (in 15 – 30 minute increments). Worthwhile investment! You jump and giggle and squeal and play with the toys around the seat. Sometimes you yelp for my attention and I look over and clap for you and say something like “Such a clever boy!” in an excited voice, and you just go crazy jumping and squealing happily J

You LOVE to roll over – tummy to back, and back to tummy. You much prefer to be on your tummy now that you have the choice. You can hold you head and upper body steadily up off of the ground and look up and around the room and play with toys in front of you. When I lay you down on your back, you almost always immediately roll over to your tummy.

You LOVE to chew on anything and everything you can get your hands on. Everything goes straight to your mouth. You have started chewing/sucking on you first two fingers.

You LOVE to grab at things – nothing is safe around you anymore! Watch out for your drinks, food, glasses, jewelry, loose clothing, nose, lips etc. You’ve managed to spill mommy’s drink more than once!

You  LOVE to be rocked. You especially like to sit in Daddy’s lap in the recliner while he rocks you. I have many pictures of the two of you doing just that! Mommy rocks you and sings to you in the nursery before you go down for your naps.

You still LOVE music and being sung to. You sing along in a soft little voice that’s different from your usual “talking” voice – it’s so completely adorable!

You LOVE your food, obviously. This month, however, you have decided that you can’t miss out on anything – you get very distracted while you’re nursing. I can’t talk to anyone, watch a TV show, or use my phone, because you get all excited and try to see what’s happening instead of eating. I can’t even look down at you, because you think it’s time to talk to me! When you finally finish eating, you will often just lie in my lap and look up and talk quietly to me. This is one of my favorite times of the day, because you are so calm and interactive. Most of the day you are like the energizer bunny… just go go go. But during and right after you eat you calm down for a short period of time and we snuggle and have a little conversation.

You LOVE to play with mommy and daddy’s smartphones. You will raptly watch Veggie Tales on them, and you also love to look at the hundreds of pictures and videos of yourself that we take, or play the “Baby Balloons” game app by tapping the screen to blow up and pop balloons. You know exactly what to do when we pull up your balloon game! It’s so cute. You actually threw your first little temper tantrum the other day when I took my phone away from you – haha!

You LOVE to look at yourself in the mirror! We have a big mirror behind the sink/counter in our bathroom and I stand you up on the counter and you just go crazy. You jump and wriggle and then laugh at yourself! Like I mentioned before, you also like to look at pictures and watch videos of yourself… you think you’re pretty awesome. Narcissistic little baby!


What you don’t like:

You’ve started to get some “stranger danger” … if someone other than momma or daddy surprises you, sometimes you get scared and start crying. When this happens, I try to just come over and reassure you and then let you keep playing. If we’re in a big group of people, you tend to get a little clingy and will always look for momma or daddy and want us to stay in your sight. You don’t like it when you can’t see or hear us!

You don’t like the fact that you can’t sit up steadily yet… you can hold yourself up for a few minutes to play with something, but then you’ll start flopping over and just get all frustrated!


What you’ve been up to this month:

Hands – At the very beginning of the month, when you had just turned 3 months old, you really started figuring out your hands – how to reach out purposefully and grab things, and play with toys like your car seat toy bar.

Feet – You found your feet this month – 05/25/2012 was when I really noticed it. Every time I would lay you down, your feet would go straight up in the air and you grab your toes with your hands. You still like to play with them, but you’ve become more excited about rolling over recently. Changing your diaper is becoming difficult with your legs waving around in the air and you trying to roll off your changing mat!

Rolling – You’ve been a rolling machine this month! You figured out how to roll from back to tummy on 06/07/2012, and now you won’t stay on your back when I lay you down. You flip right over onto your belly so you can scoot and play with your toys

Scooting – Now that you’ve figured out how to roll from your back to your belly, being on your belly seems to be your favorite position because you can push up and see the world around you, and play with toys out in front of you. I started moving your toys just out of your reach and you have started wriggling and figuring out that you can scoot over to them. You’re quite good at scooting now! You’ve started moving your arms and legs like you really want to crawl too, but you’re not quite strong enough yet to hold your chubby midsection off the floor with your arms and legs J

Laughing – You started laughing when you were about 2 and a half months old, but it was pretty rare. This past month though, you’ve been laughing more and more. On 05/27/2012 you had your first “big” laughing session with Daddy… he was tickling you with his face on your belly and under your arms and you just laughed and laughed and laughed!

Voice – This month you’ve really discovered your voice – you love to grunt and growl, and squeak and squeal. When you’re excited you shriek with happiness and I just love it! You will also copy noises that we make… if I say “aaaah” you’ll say “aaaah”… if I say “hi!” you’ll say “iiiiiii”… if I say “ah-boo” you’ll say “ah-boo”… it’s just so fun to watch you. You study our mouths and our lips when we talk to you and I can just SEE those little wheels turning as you figure out how to do the same things with your mouth.

Bouncing – You have become very proficient at jumping in your jumperoo. You sometimes jump so high that you almost catapult yourself out of the seat! Whenever we stand you up anywhere now, you just want to jump. It gets quite exhausting, holding up a 17lb jumping baby! You’ve become very active in general. Whenever you’re awake you just want to go go go!

Playing – It’s been so fun to watch you start playing more this month! You can entertain yourself with your toys for 15-30 minutes all by yourself. You shake them, stare at them, pass them back and forth between your hands, bang them on the floor/mat/tray table, and stuff them in your mouth. You love to play with your music table too – pushing the buttons and turning the wheel to make music. You also started playing little games with us – like the one in the bath that I described above.

Sleeping/schedule– Sleep has been a bit of an issue this month, but that’s to be expected around 3-4 months because of the “4 month sleep regression” as it’s called. Basically, babies are developing rapidly and becoming more aware of their surroundings and their emotions, which makes it difficult for them to get to sleep/stay asleep. You were sleeping through the night (about an 8 hour stretch) between 2 and 3 months, but then you got a cold, and then you started teething, and then you got another cold… and then the 4 month sleep regression hit, and you’re still teething. So the sleeping through the night went out the window. You were waking up twice to eat, but now we’re back down to once (at about 3:30am). I really don’t mind you waking up to eat in the night, since you still sleep in you bassinet our room with us. We both sleep through the feeding. You often just end up in bed with us after your 3:30am feeding, you sleep better next that way. Your bassinet is too small for you, but you sleep in there for the first half of the night because we haven’t figured out a better solution yet! Your doctor frowned at me when I said you still sleep with us, but I disagree – I think co-sleeping is healthy for both of us. We both get more sleep and you feel more secure J
During the day (when we are at home), you take your naps in your crib in your room. You wake up for the day around 10am and eat, and then you play until around noon, when you take a little cat nap (20-30 minutes). Then you eat again, and we play some more. We rotate through activities: roll and scoot on your mat, jump in your jumperoo, get tickled by mommy, sit in your bumbo seat and play with toys, play with your music/learning table. Around 2-2:30pm you get another feeding and go down for your long afternoon nap. You usually sleep between 2 – 3 hours, and sometimes you wake up in the middle and I rock you back to sleep. When you wake up, you eat, and we play and wait for daddy to get home, and then you play with him! At around 7pm you eat again and go down for another nap, which last 1-1.5 hours. That’s when momma and daddy get to eat dinner and hang out. When you wake up again, we play for a bit, and you have your bath. You get covered in lotion, and dressed in your jammies. Then we read you some books and your bible story, and we usually sing songs for a bit too… you looooove singing with us in your soft little singing voice! Then it’s time for one last feeding before bed… sometime between 10 – 11 pm. You wake around 3:30am for a feeding, and around 8am for a feeding, and then you wake up for the day at 10am and we start all over again!

Skin – This month we’ve had lots of problems with heat rash and dry skin. You get heat rash when you’re in your carseat especially. It’s just too hot in Texas! The heat rash turned into dry skin and eczema, so we have to cover you in lotion all the time. I put it on your whole body at almost every diaper change. We did try bathing you only every other day, but it didn’t seem to help at all, and you just love your baths so much and it was part of your bedtime routine. So I just put baby oil in your bath and that keeps your skin from drying out. It seems to be getting better now, but I have to stay consistent about putting lotion on you or it gets worse again.

Drooling/teething– My goodness, child, the amount of drool that comes out of you! I’m always covered in your drool. Whichever side I hold you on, that shoulder just turns into a big wet slobber patch. You have been teething like crazy – you’re always wanting to chew on something. Recently you’ve figured out that you can chew on your own fingers, which is GREAT  because you had started biting down while you were eating… ouch! At least you don’t have any teeth yet. We got you a Baltic amber bead teething necklace and it seems to help – you are not fussy when you’re wearing it.


Well, baby boy, what a month it has been. I know I’ll say it all the time, but this month has been the best yet! You are just so much FUN! You’re busy busy busy all day long, and momma is all tuckered out by the end of the day… imagine how much more tired I’ll be when you starting crawling and walking! But it’s a “good” tired feeling, knowing I’ve spent all day loving you and playing hard with you.

We love you Judah William, and we are just having the time of our lives watching you grow!

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