Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps...

Next Stop:  The 2018 Olympic Games

Saturday. In pictures.

One bed.  Three dogs.
Because, you know, why not?


Early morning trip to pediatrician after relatively sleepless Friday night
= ear infection numero dos.

My boys.

Blowing bubbles!

Auntie Mimi thinks Banner looks like a bishop
blessing his congregation in this photo.

Whaddya lookin' at?

Coolest.  Necklace.  EV-VER.

Shhhhhhhh...Grammy Pammy.

Splish Splash!

He LOVES the pool!

TOTAL Water Baby

Nanny nanny boo boo,
My day was awesome (cept for the ear infection), how bout you?

The End.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Banner thought of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies...

Seeing James Bond.

Watching the Queen jump out of the helicopter.

Trying to figure out if the U.S. will dip the flag or not.

(Oh, how I love that boy's facial expressions!)

Banner made his first banner...

Banner's teachers report that the little man LOVES to finger paint, and smear the colors all over the paper (and himself).  Hence, the two pieces of art in as many days.  This one came home laminated, and we have plans to hang it in his room.

I don't know for sure but assume that the color scheme is in honor of the start of the 2012 Olympics this evening.  That boy is very patriotic!  ;P

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Banner's first rainbow...

So many pictures, so little time...

Last week was full of so much grief and sadness.  Car accidents, suicides, family tragedies, funerals - even the murder of a fellow high school alumni up east.  My heart has been aching for so many people near and far.  Even my mileage for two separate work related trips added up to $6.66.  It was just a bad week all around.

But time continues to march forward, and I am hoping to ward off the bad juju from the last several days by posting about something that makes me ridiculously happy and grateful:  The Ban Man.  It is absolutely amazing how much joy the little guy brings me every single day.  Who knew I'd love being a mom this much?  I am truly blessed.

Banner knows his name now.  He has actually known it for awhile now but it is still mind blowing as a first time parent to see your baby respond to the sound of his own name.

He has also started to appreciate toys and books, and definitely has his favorites (Go, Dog. Go! makes him squeal in delight when I read it to him!).  Everything goes in his mouth nowadays, and he especially enjoys things that rattle, light up or make noise.

He also ADORES puppets.  The uglier the better.  We found this pig puppet at Whole Earth Provisions, and Banner absolutely cracked up at the sight of it.  I've never heard my baby laugh so hard or so much before.  I would have purchased it for him had it not been ridiculously expensive and creepy looking.  Seriously.  It was the kind of puppet that nightmares are made of.

I was sure that Banner would enjoy bananas considering how many of them I ate during my pregnancy, but that is sooooo not the case.  It is possible he'd rather eat sweet potatoes every day for eternity than another spoonful of banana.  Think we are going to try apples next.

I love that he sleeps with his hands in tight, little fists when we are out and about.  It is like he is committed to nap time (in a "you can't stop me!" kind of way). The funny thing is that he isn't always asleep at all, and I will catch him periodically looking at me grumpily through the corner of a cracked eyelid.

Banner is also a fan of music, and loves to "sing" and dance.  The best was driving back from Grammy Pammy's a week ago last Sunday.  He sang along with his parents to Piano Man and Cory Morrow's I Wanna Go Home while kicking his little legs in the car seat in the back and making "Ooooooooooo" sounds.  He especially loved it when I changed the lyrics to Piano Man to Banner Man.  Okay, not really, but I got a kick out of it! 

(Trevor just rolled his eyes and shook his head.)

Speaking of Trevor, Banner LOVES his daddy.  Every night when he gets home, Trevor plays the "Boo!" game with his son.  The B-Man thinks it is hysterical and cracks up when his daddy pops out from around the corner or behind the couch as says, "Boo!".

Except, of course, when Trevor takes out the trash after several rounds of "Boo!" and Banner doesn't realize he is gone.  Sweet baby just looks in eager anticipation from one corner to the next as if to say, "Where'd he go?", before letting out a disappointed, "Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!" when he realizes daddy isn't coming back.  Poor thing!  How do you explain to a six month old that the game is over?

So, for now, when we leave the room, house or drop Banner off at day care, Trevor and I wave at Banner and say, "Bye, Bye! Ciao, Ciao!"  Trevor started this, and I think Little B is starting to catch on.  Maybe.

Banner is now sitting up like a champ!  He will also get into the classic baby crawl pose and rock back and forth like he is revving his motor.  Trevor says he looks like he is air humping (shakes head).  I have a feeling he will be abandoning the army crawl in the very near future.  Doggies beware!  I have a feeling he is going to be fast!

Until then, though, we've had to purchase long sleeved onesies (in JULY) to help protect his little forearms. He has been getting "road rash" from dragging his lower half all over the place. On Friday when I picked him up from day care, his right arm looked sunburned!

Since Banner is so busy at day care (so much to do, so little time!), his teachers report that he doesn't stop to nap or give any cues that he is sleepy.  Instead, he crawls up next to one of the cribs and passes out on the floor.  If they try to put him in his crib when he isn't ready (i.e. not already asleep on the carpet), Banner looks at his teachers like they just put him in baby jail and starts to wail.

On the weekends, Banner sleeps a lot.  I think he is recharging for Monday.  He has absolutely no problem sleeping in his crib at night, but prefers to nap with us during the day whenever possible.  Hence, Banner usually cuddles up with me in bed on a lazy Saturday morning while Trevor is at the gym.  Then, in the afternoon, he wants to nap on/with Trevor while watching baseball.  He will sleep in his crib if we make him, but he prefers to get in the extra snuggles with Mom and Dad whenever he can.  Not that either of us mind.  Watching your child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most serene and peaceful things in the world.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Shocking, right?!  I would like to go on record that I think the above image is completely inappropriate.  Guns freak me out.  Of course, in the event of the zombie appocolypse, I'll probably be glad that my stepdad is an avid deer hunter.  Until then, though, I maintain that my mother's house is a death trap.  If it were up to me, though, this would be the LAST time Banner would touch a gun.  EV-VER.  And that is coming from a cattle rancher's daughter that was raised with guns in the house.  True, the random target practice or skeet shoot can be fun, but otherwise I could seriously do without anything that goes "Bang!".

Last Monday (July 16th), Banner was declared a biohazard and had to be removed from day care.  Apparently rashes really freak his teachers out, and they sent me home with all his belongings to be sterilized.  It would have *almost* been comical if I wasn't so annoyed.  Not at Banner or day care, mind you, but because my son WOULD come down with a rash the week middle school summer camp was scheduled to start at the museum (oy, vey!).  And, of course, he wasn't allowed to return to school until we obtained a doctor's note proclaiming him not to be contagious.  I all but begged the pediatrician to work us in that afternoon.

I had first noticed the rash on Saturday and again on Sunday, but it always went away.  I was actually concerned that the rash was a reaction to the bananas we had started him on Saturday, and mentioned it to his teacher on Monday morning because I was worried he might have developed a food allergy.  But then the rash returned with a vengeance that morning, despite the fact that Banner hadn't had any banana in more than 24 hours.  So, off to the doctor's office we went.

Well, sort of.

Banner's pediatrician is literally across the street from day care, but - since I couldn't get him an appointment until 4:50 PM - I had to take him home first.  Then, a report I HAD TO FINISH Monday afternoon wouldn't load on my computer (because, you know, WHY NOT?), so my awesome mother-in-law came over to sit with Banner while I ran back to work.  I was there for two hours before driving home to pick up B-Man and ferry him BACK across town to the doctor's office.  Obviously, the convenience of having the pediatrician close to day care isn't working out for me the way I had hoped.

But I digress.

Banner's rash was caused by virus he was getting over, and that - along with the horrible gas and poops he was having - was declared to be "not contagious".  So, doctor's note in hand, we were cleared to return to day care on Tuesday morning.  Hallelujah!  

Despite being given the green light to return to school, Banner continued to have frequent, large bowel movements for several days.  The doctor said this was normal.  It was just the way Banner's body was go about the process of getting the virus out of his system.  I was reassured by the doctor's office and on-call nurses that Banner was okay and not contagious.  It simply had to run its course.  In the interim, however, it gave my sweet baby the worst diaper rash imaginable.  Even his little man parts turned bright red, and the poor thing would cry whenever he would go potty.  It was simply awful.

To treat it, we started giving Banner nightly baths with baking soda and coating his hiney in rash ointments like A&D and Desitin.  None of the creams seemed to make a difference, however, so I finally caved and purchased the corn starch-based baby powder.  People:  It was miracle cure.  The rash all but disappeared overnight.  Obviously we plan to use it sparingly and only in rash emergencies, but - WOW - what a difference!

Hanging with Gran while mommy ran back to work to finish said report.

Thanks to the virus and subsequent trip to the pediatrician we know that our little pork chop gained a pound in the ten days between his six month wellness visit and becoming a day care biohazard.  He weighed in at a whopping 19.2 pounds!  And that was AFTER blowing off his diaper while I undressed him.  I am assuming there is a good chance he will surpass the big 2-0 by the end of July at this rate.

I am still pumping twice a day (when I first wake up and right before bed), and generally produce anywhere from 6-9 ounces a day.  This makes up Banner's one breast milk bottle of the day, and he usually drinks it when he gets home from school around 6:30.  Depending on how much I have made, he either gets straight breast milk or I have to mix it with some of the ready made formula. 

Despite pumping long and hard at both sessions (max suction for 20-30 minutes), I continue to make less and less milk as the days and weeks progress.  The good news is that my boobs are shrinking back to a more tolerable size, but I fear this is just another sign that Banner's breast milk days are numbered. 

As mentioned before, though, Banner loves his formula, and seems to be happy as long as he is fed something when hungry.  He is definitely not picky when it comes to his liquid meals, which is funny considering how I continue to overthink and stress about EVERYTHING.

Take water, for example (I thought I blogged about this before, but can't find it.  Sorry if I am repeating myself):  When I first realized that I had no choice but to start supplementing with formula, we incorporated in the Ready-To-Feed Similac Advanced.  We still use it when mixing with breast milk, but - boy - that stuff is expensive.  It also doesn't last long (three days in the fridge from the moment you open it).  So, as we ran out of my frozen supply while I was on the powerful antibiotic earlier this month, we made the switch to the powder.

Of course, you have to mix the powder with water to make a bottle.  And this is where I became agonizingly neurotic.  Because what kind of water should I use?  Store bought Nursery Water?  Bottled?  Boiled?  Filtered?  Tap?  There are a bunch of water options out there, and they ALL have problems.  Because Nursery Water and bottled is less regulated than regular tap water AND comes in plastic bottles containing cancer-causing BPA.  But tap can be bad depending on where you live and what contaminents exist when you turn on your kitchen sink.  So, filtered then, right?  But, no, because filters have their own problems and - depending on the kind of filter and if you change it frequently enough - can actually add more harmful additives to the water.  Which left me with boiled tap water, but there are very few (if any any) reasons to do this for a baby older than six months unless you are on well water or the tap is deemed to be unsafe.

Seriously.  Who knew water could be such a crazy-making subject?

I finally decided to use tap water for five reasons:

1.  It is super-easy and convenient. 
2.  What they would be using at day care anyway.

3.  Dallas actually has decent water, unlike other places around the state, like Houston. 

4.  Most of my other local mommy friends also use or have used the tap.

5.  A friend of mine works for a company that routinely checks water quality around the state, and vouched for the safety of the local water.  Bonus:  said friend is married to a doctor, has a son that is exactly three weeks older than Banner and also uses the tap to mix her baby's bottles.

All this chaos is part of the reason I wish I could still feed him solely breast milk.  Sigh. 

Banner's six month report card from school.
My favorite is that Banner likes BRIEF play with other babies.

My favorite story from day care this week:  Banner army crawled over to the window to look outside.  Normally, this is one of his favorite daily activities, but this particular time, for absolutely no reason, he started to wail.  Nothing was wrong with him, and nothing was going on out on the playground.  In fact, the only thing of remote interest was a squirrel playing in the grass about fifteen feet away.  So, the teachers concluded that he saw the squirrel and the wild beast scared him.  Obviously, all that "watching the squirrels" they did at day care back in March did nothing but give my baby a squirrel phobia.

Yes.  He has his own street near Coit and 635.

Banner is obsessed with tags.  Still.  His favorite lovies are the ones with tags along the border.  Oh, and don't get me started on carpet fringe.  It doesn't matter what really cool toy is on the floor.  It doesn't hold a candle to the fringe at the end of a carpet.  It is all we can do to keep him from putting it in his mouth.  When his Gran stayed with him over the weekend, her goal was to keep him from eating the carpet on her watch. 

On Saturday afternoon, after finishing his bottle, Banner let go of the loudest burp I think I have ever heard in my life.  It was loooooooooong and more what you would expect from a teenager after drinking a soda than from an infant after eight ounces of breast milk.  Seriously.  It was amazing.  My mom, Trevor and I were in the room at the time, and we all started to laugh uncontrollably which, of course, made Banner smile and wave his arms in excitement.  He was so proud of himself for making a funny.  Except now the little guy seems committed to duplicating it, and - I kid you not - TRIES to burp loudly whenever he can.  Except he hasn't quite mastered this skill yet, so the attempt, more often than not, results in me being covered in projectile vomit.

When he does produce a burp, however, he turns, looks at me and smiles.  We've created a monster.

A significant amount of time, energy and money goes into protecting Banner's skin from the sun.  Currently, his great Auntie Mimi has been buying him hats and long sleeved clothes with SPF for when we make the annual trek to Colorado in August.  Problem is, the little guy is growing like a weed.  The nine month onesies are almost too tight length-wise, which is how I found myself ordering twelve month footed PJs for my 6.5 month old this afternoon.  There was this ADORABLE pair of baby boat shoes that we were dying to put him in.  They were too big one week and - I KID YOU NOT - too small the next.  HE WILL NEVER WEAR THEM!  I need to stop falling in love with outfits, because that boy is a heart breaker.

My goal at night is to turn off the light BEFORE Leno is over at 11:30. Doesn't always happen, but I try!  And, for the record, I don't even like Leno.  He just comes on after the 10 PM news.  I'd much prefer Conan.

Favorite word of the moment:  "Ah-Goo".

My mom and I took Banner out to sit in the grass in the front yard on Saturday night.  It was abnormally cool because a summer storm was passing by just to the west of our house (no rain for us, though).  Banner had experienced grass before, but never sat in it.  He was completely fascinated.

The little sucker is STRONG. But you can not fully appreciate how strong until he accidentally back hands you in the face or grabs your hair. Because: OUCH.

Also?  He bites.  HARD.
Trevor went to Chicago on Monday, and returned on Tuesday evening.  So, for the first time EV-VER, I spent the night alone in the house with the B-Man.  My friend, Melissa, came over to keep me company and eat dinner, but once she left I was completely on my own. 

Mel and I bathed Banner and put him down around 8 PM like usual, but he woke up crying a few times which is completely unlike him.  Finally, though, he was down for the count.

Or so I thought.

He woke up screaming at midnight and again at 3 AM.  I was worried he was coming down with an ear infection, but he was fine in the morning.  He just wanted me to stay in the room with him until he fell back asleep (whenever I would try to tip toe out, he'd go "WAAAAAAA!".)

As strange as this may sound, I think he was upset that Trevor never came home.  His little routine was off, and he kept crying as if he was checking to make sure I was still there and hadn't left him, too.

Last night, when Trevor came in the door, Banner - who had been fussy earlier - immediately smiled from ear to ear.  He didn't want his daddy to put him down or leave the room.  He was just so happy that both his mommy and daddy were back where they were supposed to be.  All was right again with his little world, and he slept soundly all last night.  The only peep he made was a coughing fit around 1 AM.

Which Trevor tended to since I had served my time the night before. 

I'm just glad I don't have to see his sad face again anytime soon.  The pictures (below) were taken Tuesday morning when I dropped him off at day care.  I sent the one on the right to Trevor with the note, "Come home, daddy.  I miss you."  Broke my heart to see him so forlorn.

Trevor just said he looked like an Eco-prisoner in those green stripes.

Poor baby.  Daddy has no sympathy.

Don't know what I am going to do when I leave him in September for a wedding in Ohio for three days!  I tear up thinking about it.  Trevor just rolls his eyes.  Especially since I spent the extra $45 to buy trip insurance.  You know, just in case there is an emergency.  Or a change in plans.  Or Banner is too cute to leave.  A lot can happen!  You simply never know!  ;P

Until next time:  "Bye, Bye! Ciao, Ciao!"