Sunday, September 30, 2012

Baby Proofing...

Somehow I doubt we've even scratched the surface of what the little man can get into.

I wish I knew how to quit you...

Trevor went to buy new boots for himself, and came back with a pair for Banner. They are a size 5 (Ban is a 4), so they are still about a size too big for our little cowboy. Of course, with the rate that boy is growing, he’ll be wearing them around the house in no time.

And in case you were wondering, I had absolutely nothing to do with the following pictures. Trevor and Amy dressed Banner, and I have no idea why they couldn’t take the extra twenty seconds to slap a shirt on him.

Still? They are totally my new favorites.  He looks like such a little boy!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

First Shoes...

Banner got his first new shoes today. Since his favorite activity is pulling up on everything, "school" wants him to start wearing shoes so he can get used to the weight and feel of having something on his feet. All this is in preparation for Banner's inevitable transition to the toddler room.

Sigh.  My baby is growing up so fast!

He rocked back and forth, but wouldn't take a step at first.  It was like he thought his feet were glued to the floor.

Banner is growing so fast, all his pants are too short.
We call them his "man-pris"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Playing catching up...again

Playing in (and eating) dry oatmeal = BIG HIT

In an effort to get all my Colorado posts up, I've fallen behind on all the regular happenings around here. It is always something, right? Sigh.

To be fair, though, I've decided blogging about all the hikes we go on every year is very important to me. Mainly because people are always asking us for recommendations when they go up there, and - quite frankly - it is hard to remember specifics (especially now that I have been cursed blessed with "mommy brain"). I've only been good about documenting hikes since Trevor and I got married, too. This means that most of the hikes we went on before 2009 are nothing more than a bunch of unedited jpegs stored on my external hard drive.

I say "most" because some years I would start to write about what we had done during our vacation, but would never finish. And other years, I'd never even start. If I could, I'd totally go back and slap pre-2009 me.

Granted, Trevor and I have a tendency to go on hikes more than once, but not always. I've never, for example, blogged about Silver Lake, Highland Mary Lakes or Spencer Basin, which are all GORGEOUS hikes (in very different ways) near Silverton. I am always telling myself that I am going to go back and rectify this situation (because it drives me CRAZY), but then, you know, life happens. And it is amazing how quickly you forget all the fun, little details if you don't write them down immediately. I know we attempted a repeat trip to Silver Lake in 2008 just days before Trevor proposed, but can't remember if it was 2005, 2006 or 2007 when we did the others to Highland Mary and Spencer Basin. Which? Grrrrrrr!

Hence, the G-Wink online guide to hiking in southwestern Colorado remains frustratingly incomplete. I realize this is not a problem for anyone other than me, because who really cares about what we did or did not do on vacation half a decade ago? Still, it keeps me up at night and drives me crazy in the same nonsensical way that not making the bed in the morning or letting Banner's bottles dry in a disorganized pattern on the drying rack does.

Trevor would be the first to tell you that I am sort of crazy and a little OCD. Except I'm sure he forget to use adjectives like "sort of" and "little". He is supportive that way.

All this aside, I am proud of myself for finishing all my hiking posts from this summer. Because, well, nothing about blogging is as easy as it was before Banner made his debut.

(Not that I would change a thing, mind you. It is just a little more of a challenge nowadays.)

But enough about Colorado! So much has happened in the weeks since we returned home, and I've just got to get it down. Forgetting about the specifics of hikes in Colorado is one thing. I'd never forgive myself if didn't document the goings-on in my little guy's day to day life! Especially now that he seems to be in such a big hurry to check milestones of his list as quickly as possible. Time has definitely picked up speed. This year is just flying by!

Banner tried water for the first time on the same day he sat in his first high chair. I gave it to him initially in a bottle instead of a sippy cup because several other moms I know recommended doing it that way to increase the likelihood that he would actually like water. I guess the thinking is that if water (new liquid) is introduced in a sippy cup (new method of feeding/drinking) than the baby may reject both because they are both foreign. Basically a case of too much too soon.

Instead, I gave water in a bottle (familiar method of feeding/drinking) and Banner seemingly consumed it without noticing a difference. Well, I say that and WE noticed a difference. Water isn't as thick as formula or breast milk, so Banner choked more at first. But, otherwise, I'm not sure our baby had a clue that we had slipped him anything different than what he was used to getting.

In related news, Banner is now eating puffs, teething biscuits and stage II foods. Only problem is that he tries to cram as many puffs in his mouth as possible. He isn't even trying to really eat them, because almost as much that goes in is drooled back out later. Same goes for the teething biscuits, except he seems determined to get the entire cracker in his mouth at once. All this means that we have to watch him like a hawk when he is eating because Banner is like one giant choking hazard. And, since he doesn't speak English yet, I can't tell him to slow down and chew.

Of course, it might be genetic because I learned recently from Trevor's brother that Trevor once managed to get an entire Big Mac in his mouth at once. A feat that my husband is apparently proud of, and people REMEMBER ABOUT HIM.

Which?  Wow.

All my boys (Haskell included) take a nap in the backyard...

Banner welcomed the new little girl in his classroom by crawling over to her, spitting up on her head and crawling away as fast as possible.

So, yeah. My baby? THAT kid.

He likes to flirt with Caroline, too, by throwing his paci at her. She reciprocates, though, and throws hers his way.

All the other parents and teachers are always telling me how strong and fast Banner is, but it is often in reference to something he did. He is getting quite the little reputation.

One of my favorite day care stories, though, is that Banner, Brox and Oliver play a call and response game when placed in their cribs for nap time. Banner will shriek, and one of the other boys will yell back. This goes on and on until either one of them falls asleep or the teachers give up and put them back on the floor to play.

Oh, and Brox and Banner both have dads that are indoctrinating early and insist on dressing their sons in Cowboys gear now that football season is underway (oy, vey!). That said, it IS pretty adorable to see them sitting side by side in matching t-shirts or onesies.

Banner LOVES trucks, cars and anything with wheels. This has less to do with being a boy and more with chasing toys that roll on our wood floors.

Our little guy is also a fan of music and will kick his legs and feet to the beat of a song. Sometimes I think he may grow up to be a drummer. He definitely has more rhythm at 8+ months than I've had in my entire 32 years.

Banner is also finally big enough to play on his rocking horse and cow. Except he hasn't perfected how to rock on his own without getting "bucked off", so we have to watch our little buckaroo closely.

The Ban Man has been in size 4 diapers since Colorado, and his front, left tooth came in the week after we came back to Dallas. Unlike the bottom two teeth, the upper one seemed to cause him a lot of pain and discomfort. He woke up several times during the night, ran a low grade fever and was, over all, cranky. This went on for four or five days before the tooth finally broke through the gum on the 12th of September. So far, there is no sign of the top, right tooth, but I am assuming it will make its debut sooner rather than later.

Sigh. I am going to miss his little gummy smile.

The same weekend Banner was cutting his upper tooth, he had his first swimming lesson. Only problem was that a cold front blew through the night before, and the 104 degree temps plummeted to a high in the mid 80s. The lesson was scheduled for 9 AM at my mother's in Cedar Hill, however, and the temp when we got in the pool was a windy 68. But the worst was the water temperature that had dropped to a chilly 82. You know it is bad when I tell you that I didn't want to get in the water, and cringed when the teacher asked me to change into my suit. Poor Banner only made it 15 minutes before Grammy Pammy saved him with a warm towel. Sigh...we will try again next year.

Banner LOVES his doggies, and nothing makes him happier than chasing them around the house and petting them. All three are very patient with him, which warms my heart. Of course, Trevor or I are always close by just in case. Haskell tries to avoid the baby as much as possible (seeking refuge in the dog run or on his bed in the study) unless Banner has food, while Gypsy and Alley prefer to "guard" Banner and lick him to all over when I am not looking.

Alley is the only one of the three so far that has figured out how easy it is to steal food from the baby. When Banner is practicing with puffs or a teething biscuit, we have to watch her very closely. Because the second our backs are turned, Banner is licked clean and his puffs or biscuit are nothing but a distant memory at the bottom of her tummy. Of course, Banner isn't helping matters. He thinks it is hysterical to "feed the doggies" and relishes in his popularity with his canine brethren when he has something the dogs consider worth begging for (i.e. anything remotely edible).

Much to Trevor's delight, Banner started saying "dada" on the day we returned from Colorado. Of course, it is just another syllable for Banner to repeat and babble, but Trevor is convinced that it is his son is calling him by name. Which is kind of awesome considering EVERYTHING is "dada" right now: Gypsy, Bobby the Bear, bath tub toys, waiters. You get the picture.

Daycare reports that Banner is VERY affectionate. He loves to give his teachers hugs and "zombie" kisses. He is such a sweet, happy, little guy, and just loves being with people. The idea of anyone ever breaking his heart, abusing his trust or hurting him in anyway just about kills me. I want nothing more than to protect him from everything bad in the world. I know it isn't realistic, but, as his mother, I am still going to try.

And when things go bad, as they inevitably will, I will always be there for him with a listening ear and a comforting hug. It will take a lot of effort on my part, but I will do everything possible to keep myself from sticking him in a bubble to protect him from all the evil and disappointment out there.

Oh, if only you could bottle up and guard that childlike innocence and wonder! It is the most beautiful thing. Banner is simply a happy boy. He doesn't know any other way to be.

This was taken the first time Banner pulled up at daycare
(September 7th, 2012)

The week we returned from Colorado, Banner started pulling up. On everything. It is his new favorite past time. The problem is getting down after standing up. Half the time he starts wailing because he is stuck and the other half he simply lets go. It was only this past weekend when he started to show signs of trying to lower himself to the ground more carefully, but if he is in a hurry, all bets are off. I just wish gravity was more forgiving. Or that it was acceptable for babies to wear helmets at this stage of development.

And, for the record, nothing prepares you for the day you walk into your child's nursery and discover them standing up in their crib. That is going to take awhile to get used to.

Banner also LOVES to climb on, under and over our furniture. We removed the baskets under the coffee table in the den, and Ban spends HOURS going back and forth over the shelf.

He also seems determined to play with anything that could injure or kill him. We thought we had our bases covered in the baby proofing department until we realized we hadn't even scratched the surface. Things we hadn't even THOUGHT of, Banner has found. Who knew fireplace equipment was so interesting or how much fun the baby monitor camera cord would be wrapped around your neck? And that stand in his nursery that holds the wipes? Yeah, DEATH TRAP. Round two of baby proofing starts Saturday morning, and will focus of cabinet doors, drawers and removal of furniture that he could tip over.

Oh, and plugs, too. I seriously never realized how many outlets we have in our house until Banner started to find all the ones I had forgotten about. And he is FAST. You can't take your eyes off of him for an instant. And even if you are watching him, he will surprise you with what he can get into. He broke our living room coffee table over the weekend. Pulled the legs right off in front of his Gran, who was watching him. We were out of town, but her text message read:

"The living room coffee table needs to be glued!!! Thor is very strong!!! Nothing a little glue won't fix!!!"

O.M.G. Our baby is a beast.

Amy taught Banner to open and close the cabinets below our TV. Thanks, Amy. Appreciate it. I can't WAIT to return the favor whenever you and Adam get around to spawning. ;P

For reasons no one understands, Banner thinks it is HYSTERICAL when adult women cough. This includes his teachers at school, grandmothers, aunt and, of course, me. Sometimes I faux cough just to distract him long enough to dress him in his jammies or change his diaper. Because if there is anything Banner hates more than a diaper change nowadays, it is getting dressed. Actually, come to think of it, ANY activity involving the changing table is not high on Banner's list of favorite things. I've started dressing him in his crib because it has safety bars!

He also LOVES popping bubble wrap. Maybe he will grow up to be a mailman since he seems to have a particular fondness for shipping materials? Give my kid paper, boxes and bubble wrap and he is on cloud nine!

I think Banner looks so much like my dad here.

One of the other mothers at daycare commented on Banner's army crawl and told me I should contact our pediatrician because he was only propelling himself forward with his right arm and left leg. Apparently, babies are supposed to use all limbs equally and not favor any one side, arm or leg over another. If they don't, it can be a sign of a motor problem.

Cut to me freaking the EFF out.

I called the doctor as soon as they opened the following morning. My pediatrician, however, wasn't concerned. The most important thing, according to him, is that Banner is interested in being mobile and moving around. He did, however, refer to Banner's crawl as "unconventional" and will assess it in person at his 9 month appointment in early October. The chance that anything is actually wrong, though, has gone down substantially since Banner started standing up and experimenting with cruising. Most likely Banner's army crawl is just the result of him finding a way of getting around and sticking with it. He may never crawl "conventionally" like a regular baby. He just has his own way of doing things, and has discovered what works and is sticking with it.

In other news, Trevor and I went to Cleveland last weekend for Susie and Aaron's wedding. It was the first time I was away from my little guy overnight since he was born. I dreaded leaving him, wrote a small book of instructions for his grandmothers (who were taking care of him over the weekend) and SOBBED when the time came to get into the car and head to the airport.

Even though everyone told me repeatedly that I deserved a short weekend away without the baby, he was never far from my mind. And I have, honestly, never missed anyone so much before in my life.  

The trip to Ohio also happened to coincided with the decision to stop pumping. Ever since I was sick back over the summer, my milk supply has plummeted despite my best efforts to sustain it. Believe me when I say I tried EVERYTHING to reestablish it, too. But, in spite of it all, I produced less and less instead of more and more. At the end (September 20th), I was making less than two ounces in a twenty-four hour period. But those two ounces represented an hour and a half to two hours of pumping over the course of a day. It just stopped being worth all the time and effort. My body was pulling the plug, and I finally realized that I was drying up whether I liked it or not.

Of course, it has been nice to have all that time back that I'd previously been using to pump. I've being going to bed earlier and waking up later, and have even started reading again (not to mention the extra time with Trevor!). But, the thing is, I LIKED being able to provide milk for my son. It made me happy. I think the hardest part about stopping is that it was never truly my decision. My body made it for me, and, as stupid as it sounds, I feel like I've somehow failed Banner. I know I made it longer than many women (heck, some never even try!), but my goal was a year. And I fell short.

Honestly, I knew my milk producing days were coming to an end when I woke up one morning after we first arrived in Colorado and discovered all my bras were suddenly about fifteen sizes too big. But, even then, I deluded myself in to thinking that I could somehow keep it going or bring it back. Four weeks later, though, and my supply had been halved yet again and I was facing three days and four nights away from my baby.

And that is when it hit me: if I pumped the entire time I was in Ohio, I would only make six ounces. Banner eats 7-9 per bottle. Four days and three nights, and I wouldn't even make enough for a single feeding.

It was time to throw in the towel and retire my pump to the attic.

I am trying to focus on the fact that Banner doesn't know the difference, and is happy as long as he is being fed. Plus, he is getting bigger every day and wanting solids more and more and milk less and less. I can't believe how much he is starting to look like a little boy instead of a baby. Breastfeeding was just a chapter in motherhood, not the whole story.

And, with that, I am turning the page...