28 March 2012

By the Book

My parents like to say that I'm raising Ike "by the book." They're mostly right. I followed the American Pediatrics recommendation that says babies shouldn't have solids until they are six months old. That wasn't really hard to follow because he honestly didn't seem interested in anything besides breastmilk until about 6 months old anyway. I gave him peanut butter well before his first birthday, but that's because neither Eric nor I have any family members with nut allergies, so I figured we were good in that regard. I was hesitant to give him any dairy products before he turned one, but that was because early on he had a very obvious milk sensitivity - based on how he reacted when I went off dairy for about six weeks. I mostly didn't want to give him dairy because I didn't want to clean up puke - especially if that puke was no longer just regurgitated breast milk.

But mostly I'm "by the book" when it comes to sleep. I had heard great things about  On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, and I read it. I felt like the authors were beating me over the head with a brick. While some of the methods certainly appealed to me I did not like how the book presented their sleeping method as The One True Way To Get A Baby To Sleep Through The Night. I also felt like the authors implied that those babies who were not sleeping through the night via the Baby Wise method at like 3.5 weeks were probably going to have sleep problems for the rest of their lives, which would eventually turn said babies into axe murderers. Anyway, that was the tone that I perceived. So I took the tidbits I liked and moved on to a different book.

I had not heard much about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by March Weissbluth, but what I had heard was favorable.I was given this book for free for participating in a survey. I still use this book, and I love it. The author does beat a dead horse a bit when he goes on and on and on about the importance of babies developing good sleeping habits, but beyond that I found this book incredibly helpful. It is divided, in part, by age, and it gives good averages for when children usually sleep through the night, what naps are like for babies of certain ages, and just general information about the average baby's healthy sleep habits. If you had asked me before I had a baby about how many naps most babies take, I would have had no clue. This book informed me. I also learned that Ike tends to be on the sleeps-a-lot side of things. He didn't phase out of three naps until very late compared to other kids. He is nearly 16 months old and is still taking two naps. According to the book most kids transition from two naps to one between 12-18 months. This is just good information to know. It's also useful because it gives a number of techniques and suggestions, and allows you to work things out in a way that is best for you and your family. I really liked that aspect of the book. He doesn't tout any particular method as the best and emphasizes that some methods work better for some babies and some parents than for others.

Another thing that I love about this book, is that he gives great descriptions of sleepy behaviors. One of the messages is that if your child is cranky, he is past the point of being easy to put to bed. He says it is important to recognize the sleepy behaviors that precede crankiness, and to put the kid to bed during that phase rather than wait for the crankiness. I have found this to be incredibly helpful.

I seriously knew so little about babies prior to having one, and I have found books and websites to be incredibly helpful in figuring out methods and habits that work for me and Ike. Am I "by the book"? Overall, I'd say that I am, but I also like to think that I'm not so rigidly by the book that I'm a crazy person.

23 March 2012

Two March Madness Tidbits

The First:

A bona fide email exchange I had this week with RA (Shared without permission - hope it's okay!), following my comment on her post about March Madness:
Me: [. . .] I do not know what possessed me to pick Wichita to go to the Final Four. Yes I do, it was a comment I heard on NPR. But I was only half-listening so it's entirely possible the guy was kidding about them. [. . .]

RA:  Oh, dear, if we heard the same thing on NPR, it was that Wichita State's mascot is a stalk of wheat... :(

Me: Now that you mention it, it was definitely that. Dumbdumbdumb. Then again, I have Ohio State as my champ in my work bracket, and their mascot is a buckeye. 
 I think this is the first time ever that NPR has gotten me into trouble.

The Second:

At our weekly operations meeting at work on Tuesday a few of us were discussing our in-office bracket contest, of which I was at that time tied for first place. I explained to my colleagues that I mostly go by the numbers and choose a few upsets based on whether or not I know people who attended those schools. I couldn't even remember anything about my work bracket besides the fact that I had selected Ohio State as the ultimate victor. Really, I just like to do well in March Madness because I enjoy being right. There's not much more to it.

Then a new fellow chimed in asking if March Madness was something our office did every year. We said that last year was really the first year that we started. Then he asked something to the effect of, "So what are you guessing?" And then a colleague explained to him what March Madness was, and he had never heard of it before. I was dumbfounded. And then the meeting started and I totally forgot to talk to my other co-workers about how that one new guy didn't know what March Madness was. I'll have to put that at the top of my list for the next time I'm in the office.

(Non-Americans, it is okay if you don't know what March Madness is. It's the American college basketball single-elimination tournament that starts with 64 teams and eventually ends in one. It happens in March. It is fun to participate because any nimrod can fill out a bracket.)

17 March 2012

Week in Mothering

My week in mothering:
  • Sick baby. Croup. Breathing treatment and a dose of steroid in some chocolate syrup (at doctor's office) seemed to remedy it. Fever quickly subsided. Then the more normal symptoms of a cold set in. Lots of coughing. Lots. Also a lot of nose-wiping. Extremely grateful for modern medicine. Croup used to kill kids. Scary, I tell you.
  • The illness produced a baby who refused to sleep. I took him on a drive on Wednesday night at like 10:30 to get him to sleep. (Normally we put the kid in bed about 6:30, he waves goodbye, and we don't hear from him until morning.)
  • Thursday morning he refused to nap. I rocked him to sleep. Failed crib transfer. Rocked him to sleep again. Failed crib transfer again. Decided maybe if he just cried for a few minutes he'd fall asleep on his own.
  • Loud thud. Baby on floor. Had no idea he could climb out of his crib. Tears from him. Near-tears from me. Decided to let him stay up and play. Maybe later we'd take a drive.
  • By afternoon he was carrying his monkey around. When I said, "Do you want to have a nap?" he took my hand and headed to his room. Finally some sleep. For both of us.
  • Eric lowered the crib when he got home. Again Ike would not go to bed. Went on a drive. Succeeded in getting the baby to sleep, but only temporarily. Brought him home, let him play, then let him cry for 25 minutes until he fell asleep.
  • Friday and Saturday much more pleasant, but still a lot of snot.
  • Now I'm coming down with the cold. Darn it.
All this interrupted with many moments of sheer mothering joy. Also, we can now add "cracker" to the list of words he readily says ahead of "mama." I'm not bitter - yet.

11 March 2012

Somewhat Similar

Yes, yes, yes, my boy looks like his dad. There is no disputing that. But he also looks a little bit like me, even if it is only in the near-baldness. (And of course the most recent picture I have of him is one where he is looking particularly like his father.) Anyway, if you see Ike in person a lot you will know that he actually does look a fair bit like that adorable little angel baby there on the left.

08 March 2012


I've spent a few days trying to decide the best way to write this post. I think no matter how I tell it it will be funny, but I'm sure there would be one way that would make it the most funny. In any event, here you go:

Back in 2008 when we lived in New Zealand, I got an idea that I thought was both clever and hilarious. I opened up Eric's email account and sent an email to myself. (We used the same computer, and generally we just operated different browsers so neither one of us would ever have to log out of our email or other accounts. We are lazy like that.) The email said something like, "I love it when you tickle me. Love, Eric." Then, I went into my email and replied to the email that Eric had sent me. (Of course, he didn't send the email at all.) So, Eric received my reply, and of course was a little confused about when he had ever sent the first email. But he's no dummy, and he figured things out pretty quickly. Still, it gave me the opportunity to tickle him and tell him and that I didn't understand why he wouldn't want me to tickle him after his email had said how much he liked it. (Eric's very ticklish. In case you hadn't figured that out.)

Fast forward to last Sunday.

Our camera cord has been missing for a year, so we use Eric's work laptop, which he brings home periodically, to get the pictures off our camera card. I was working on the desktop in our office, and he was working on his laptop, also in the office. For some reason he wasn't able to get his computer to read the SD card, so he handed me his laptop. I was able to get it to work, and I pulled off the few photos that were on the card. Eric's email account was open, so I attached the pictures to an email to send to myself. I included with the photos a message that said, "Feel free to tickle me any time." I rather mindlessly typed the first couple of letters of my name into the "to" field, hit the down arrow to select my name and then hit send.

I handed Eric his computer and said, "You should look at your sent mail." About 10 seconds later he said, "No, I think you should look at my sent mail."

I had not selected my own name in the "to" field. I had selected my sister-in-law, Shalissa's name. (She is married to Eric's brother, so our last names are the same.) So, Eric's brother's wife received an email with pictures of our child (not too odd) and a message that said, "Feel free to tickle me any time." (Very odd.)

We laughed so hard that I cried. Then I quickly jotted off a little email to Shalissa letting her in on the little joke and revoking any permission Eric may have ever given her to tickle him.

06 March 2012

Fifteen Months

I stopped doing monthly updates on Ike once he turned 1. That was always the plan. What I didn't realize is that he would learn tricks and do funny things a lot more at this age, than when he was a few months old. But, when he was only a few months old I had more time to do things like write blog posts about my awesome baby.

Ike's broken arm is all better. He didn't care at all about wearing his splint. I picked him up from the sitter's last week and he wasn't wearing it, and the babysitter said, "It came off during his nap, and then I couldn't remember which arm it went on." I laughed and said, "It didn't come off. He took it off." It was funny. (The babysitter is not incompetent, I promise.)

He no longer walks anywhere. It is running, running, all the time. And! He has learned to go down the stairs, so he no longer stands at the top and shouts at me to come carry him down. He also has maybe fallen down the stairs a few times. (See, I am a negligent mother!)

He still loves to stare out the window and literally spends probably about two hours of any given day standing on a stack of books looking out the office window. (Not consecutive hours, of course.) When Eric is seconds away from home, he calls me, and I tell Ike to go stand by the window that runs vertically along the front door. Ike runs over to the window and waits to see Eric arrive. He shouts "Da!" It is adorable every time.

Ike's vocabulary is still pretty small. He says "uh-oh," "da," and "wow." He very, very, very occasionally will say "ma." He babbles and chatters all day, and I'm not yet worried about his slow-ish speech development.

He is also still behind in the teeth category. At fifteen months old, he has barely six teeth. I say barely because the most recent two just came in within this last week or so. As with his two front teeth, there were no signs of discomfort or pain. I think Ike is just a tough kid.

When I get him out of bed, I always hide his binkie under the blanket in his bed. That way it is out of sight, and out of reach, so he cannot steal it from his crib later in the day and go wandering around the house with it. (We have a strict "Binkies are for bedtime" policy.) As soon as I put him in his bed, he starts lifting up the blanket to get his binkie. One of these days I'm just going to hide the thing altogether. Truth be told, I would have gotten rid of it the day he turned 1, and just done it cold turkey, but the babysitter's youngest kid (two months older than Ike) still uses one, so I think he would have a rough time of it at her house.

Maybe I am kind of a sap, but many nights I go into his room after he is asleep and pick him up and rock him. He doesn't cuddle or let me rock him when he's awake, so it's the only chance I get.

He's learning his body parts, and that is fun.

Ike still loves to throw his toys down the stairs. Sometimes he dances, and it's funny. He loves when Eric and I play catch with him. (And by that I mean when Eric and I throw him between the two of us, and also I mean when we throw some object to him, and he throws it back.) Ike also loves to be thrown onto the bed and to do horsey rides on the knees of willing adults.

Several weeks ago as Eric and I lay in bed discussing our awesome boy, he said, "Ike is better than ten puppies." I couldn't have said it better myself.

04 March 2012

Old Family Photos

On Friday my aunt sent me a Facebook message asking if I'd be interested in some scans of some old family photos she has. She mentioned which branch of the family they were from, and it happens to be the part of the family that I have spent literally hundreds of hours researching. I was excited to see what she'd send, and I expected them to be primarily of my grandparents and great-grandmother. She ended up sending me so much more than that, and I was just beyond thrilled. I immediately downloaded them to my computer and then got them uploaded to my online tree so other people can have access to them. I won't bore you with them because they are just strangers to you, but I still wanted to share in my excitement, at least a little bit.

One of my favorite pictures was this one, of my paternal grandfather and his mother. My grandfather was an only child, and I'm certain quite the prize to his parents. At first glance the boy reminded me a lot of my older brother, Steven, which is interesting because everyone knows my brothers and I take after our mom's side of the family, not our dad's. I looked for a photo of my brother that I could compare this one to, but I couldn't find one that was a really good fit. You might just have to trust me.