Saturday, June 30, 2012

Halfway to Food

Malcolm is halfway to being able to start solids. Hopefully, anyway. I'm a little nervous about how he'll do with that and if we'll actually be able to start around six months or not because this kid has a serious gag reflex. I thought Gareth's was bad as an infant, but Malcolm gags on nothing multiple times a day. At least lately he has stopped puking every time he gags, but I still find myself trying to decide if I should run to the sink whenever the gagging starts. I'm excited for solids because then he'll be nursing less often. Nursing is not my most favorite pastime; it tends to make me feel a bit trapped. It's been a little better this time around since I'm more comfortable nursing in public. I didn't take much notice of when Seattle made breastfeeding a protected civil right, but I've got to say that it actually helps a lot to have that in place. It was already state law, but the Seattle measure makes the state law more enforceable. Knowing that that's in place and seeing other women nurse in public is definitely helpful in increasing my comfort with feeding my child outside of my home. This means that I can take Gareth to the science center or the park without stressing about whether we'll be able to make it there and back home before Malcolm would want to eat again (right now we wouldn't as he still eats every three hours or less). I was tempted at the beginning to pump all the time and just feed him breast milk from a bottle, but in the end that's just more work than it's worth for me. Ryan tries to feed him a bottle if I've got a rehearsal or go out with friends (Malcolm's not loving the bottle right now, maybe we need to try a different kind?), so I've got a fair amount of freedom. But I'm still excited for him to start on solids and hopefully wean around a year.

He's a cute baby, something we're both enjoying more this time around since we're not nearly as overwhelmed as we were with Gareth (sorry, Gareth!). While we enjoy that he's cute, he's still boring like every newborn is. You hold him for five minutes or less and there's not much you or he can do, so then you put him down and he screams. We're excited for him to grow up a bit.

He's started playing with his hands a bit and trying to chew/suck on them. Malcolm has found his thumb a couple of times but this has just caused increased frustration as he seems to know there's something there that was great fun to suck on, but he usually won't move his thumb out from his other fingers enough to really be able to suck on it. Instead he sits there bobbing his head all around his hand, gnawing and sucking on whatever comes in contact with his mouth, but never really finding satisfaction.

He seems to be more interested in books than Gareth was at this age. He'll actually sit calmly through Brown Bear, Brown Bear and stares most intently at the black and white pages (that would be the dog and the sheep, for those who don't have the book memorized). He loves having his arms and legs flailed around wildly. His other love is his changing table. You put him down there and he starts smiling like crazy. He's not such a fan of shirts going on or off over his head, but if all he needs is a diaper change you can be certain you'll have an ecstatic baby by the time you're done.

He smiles a lot, especially at Gareth. He seems fascinated by all that Gareth can do. He also has an adorable pout, but I've yet to be able to capture it on camera. Even his smiles seem hard to catch. Ryan can trigger the pout by speaking in a very deep voice. I usually trigger it by playing the clarinet.

Sleeping is an area we're still working on. Around 11 weeks he started sleeping through the night, but that only lasted for a little over a week. Now he'll sleep through a couple of nights then wake up between 3 or 4 for a few nights. But we have to acknowledge that we're still pretty lucky in the sleep department. He's been waking up only once during the night from just a couple weeks old and he puts himself to sleep every night with no help from us. And, finally, his most recently acquired skill (he'll hold his upper body up like this for several minutes usually):

Monday, June 25, 2012

Swimming Lessons

Gareth started swimming lessons tonight. I spent all last week worrying that it was this week already and that I'd forgotten about swimming lessons, only to have Ryan get home tonight and, as I was about to head out for a couple dinner ingredients, ask if Gareth wasn't supposed to have swimming tonight. Thankfully he remembered 30 minutes before the lesson was supposed to start!

I wish I'd thought to bring my camera with me to record Gareth getting into the pool. He's in a group of four and five year olds. They keep a 6 to 1 student to teacher ratio (though his section has a 4 to 1 ratio right now), dividing the kids out into skill levels. Gareth made it obvious that he needed to be in the lowest skill level when he was the last one to enter the water. He got his legs in, but was clinging to the side of the pool for dear life, holding his torso out of the water. They had to pry him off the side to get him in. He told us in the car later that he wasn't sure if there was a floor or not, so that's why he was nervous about getting in. Makes sense to me. A lot more sense than my irrational fear (that I held for much longer than I'd care to admit) that the black lines on the bottom of the YMCA pool would turn into sharks and eat me.

Once he was in he got comfortable pretty quickly. His instructor didn't make them submerge themselves under the water, but did get him to blow bubbles with his mouth and nose. Not too bad, for a first lesson. They also worked on kicking while holding onto the side of the pool and on floating on their backs (with the instructor's help, of course). He was very excited about it and talked about how much fun it was and that he hadn't known he could do all those things before. Good thing he likes it; we signed him up for two classes so he'd go twice per week rather than just once. Having him like it will make the other night when I take him by myself (with Malcolm in tow) much easier. And hopefully by the end of the summer he'll have made some good progress!

Friday, June 8, 2012


A couple years ago we grew Gareth's hair out for his Halloween costume. We were so focused on how horrific it looked for so long that we didn't notice that by the time Halloween actually came it looked awesome.

And so we immediately chopped it all off after Halloween was over. This past Halloween I was looking through pictures and realized how great his hair had looked long and was sad that we'd cut it short again so soon. We'd just shaved his head for his costume and his hair was growing back anyway, so we decided to let it grow long again. Right now it's in the horrific poof stage, but we know in a few months (hopefully before school pictures?) it'll look decent. (He likes to make silly faces in his pictures now. The hair is actually not looking quite as poofy today as it was a couple of days ago.)

For quite some time now Ryan's been wanting to do something different with his hair (see the photo above for what his hair has looked like ever since I've known him). I was no help in the "what should I do with my hair" department, but we both knew he'd have to grow it out a bit longer in order to do anything interesting with it. I wasn't sure he'd be able to since he typically starts bugging me for a hair cut as soon as his hair gets anywhere near his ears. But he has a good friend in Indiana who has long hair and so around the same time we decided to grow out Gareth's hair, Ryan decided to start growing his as well. Gareth's we'll probably keep about the length in the photo above, maybe a tad longer. But Ryan's going to grow his at least shoulder length long.

In all honesty, I'm not sure long hair will be a good look for him. It is great for his friend and for many others I've seen, just not sure it'll be right for Ryan. But we figure that if we don't like it really long at least this way we'll get to see it at various stages and be able to determine a look that's good for him. Plus I'm really interested to see what his hair is like at various lengths. His is a bit funky looking at it's current stage as well, but it's actually better than when just the sideburns were getting long. Then he'd get little wings as soon as he put his glasses on every morning and it just looked ridiculous. But now the rest of the hair has caught up a bit and so the wingy sideburns don't look so bad anymore.

This was a couple of weeks ago, and he was making it poof up more than it usually does - it looked even more absurd in person. We have good intentions to continue taking pictures as it grows so if that actually happens we'll continue to document his hair growth here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pediatrician Update

About a week after I took the boys into the pediatrician I finally had a chance to call her office. I called, they had a nurse call back, I told the nurse I actually wanted to speak with the doctor, and she called me back during her lunch.

I'd spent the week since we'd been in being hyper-aware of Gareth when he socialized with others. A couple of the other preschool moms were as well, they told me. :) Watching him so closely confirmed to me that he's a perfectly "normal" five year old. When the doctor called back I asked her what "quirks" she'd seen, since I didn't think I knew what she was talking about. Turns out, nothing. Just that he's super-friendly and some kids like that are overly friendly at times. Who would have thought this was a problem? Ryan and I were both quite introverted all through our primary and secondary school years and always viewed Gareth's extroverted personality as something that would make his school life much easier than ours had been. (We also wonder how on earth he came by it and how we're going to relate to him as a teenager if he remains so social since his experiences could differ drastically from ours.) I told her I'd talked with his preschool teacher and other parents and that they all assured me Gareth is on par with his peers and just fine. And I made sure to let her know that if you use the words "the spectrum", most parents will be worried and freak out at least a bit. She was very apologetic and said she'd misspoken.

Basically I got the idea that she just didn't think through very well what she was trying to say and ended up taking the initial conversation places she hadn't meant to. I was glad she was willing to admit where she'd been wrong and apologize for it. One of the things I've liked about her before is that she doesn't make you feel stupid for asking questions or bringing your kid in. In this case, she didn't seem at all put out that I'd called back to talk more but was very glad I'd done so. I'm not going to throw her under the bus for one bad communication day, so we'll keep going to her for now. If we have more problems in the future, then we'll find someone new.