Thursday, January 31, 2008

I always love reading Marisa's posts when she does her product reviews, with the most recent being about informative books. I guess I'd like to do something similar with this post and write about a few things that have made me a better parent (or just stuff I REALLY like).

Book: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw. If you've never read this children's book before you must do so. The first time I heard about it was when I was in jr. high or high school (I think it was written in the '80s). My friend's mom would talk about it, but I didn't read it myself until last year when I got it as a shower gift. It honestly makes me cry EVERY time I read it. It's about a mother who rocks and sings her baby boy to sleep every night and even creeps into his room as a grown man to sing to him. The book ends with the grown man holding his aging mother and singing to her. It's so touching. The woman who gave it to me said that she made up her own melody to go with the words to the lullaby and that she knew of groups of mothers that would get together and share their melodies to the well-loved words: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." Rodney's melody even differs from mine.

CD: Marlo Thomas and Friends: Free To Be You and Me. Laura bought this for Maddie when she was born and then appropriately bought it for me and Will as part of his baptism gift. It was produced in 1972 and features such names as Allen Alda (from M*A*S*H), Harry Belefonte, Mel Brooks, Carol Channing, Shirley Jones, and Dianna Ross. Marlo Thomas (don't know who she is outside of this recording) explains about wanting to read a bedtime story to her niece and getting saddened by the nature of her books. Saying that not only did the books put her to sleep at night, but they "put her mind to sleep" as well. She began looking through stores and found lots of books that "charmingly dictated who and what [boys and girls] must be, colorfully directing new minds away from their own uniqueness." Alternating between songs, stories and poems, and even comedic sketches, it breaks down typical gender stereotypes. Some titles are Parents are People, It's All Right to Cry, William's Doll, and When We Grow Up. One of my favorites it a comedic sketch featuring Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks called Boy Meets Girl. In the sketch two babies just born try to decide whether or not they are a boy or a girl. It's so cute and hilarious. If you can get past the campy 1970s feel, it has a lot to offer. I think Stanford from Sex in The City even references it as a plea for gay people.

The Ultimate Diaper Bag by Pottery Barn Kids. Right after Will was born I unwisely bought a very cute but cheap diaper bag that ended up falling apart on me a few weeks ago. Coveting such beautiful bags as Petunia Picklebottom but knowing I couldn't afford them, I found this bag in the mall and decided it was a great middle-of-the-road (price-wise) choice. Marisa later told me that it got good reviews from her sources. The size is perfect- not too big and not too small- and it's got lots of great compartments. There are two insulated bottle holders on the outside of the bag and two magnets that keep the flap closed, so no messing with zippers. The material is also washable and very sturdy. I also love the shoulder grip on the strap.

Peanut Shell Sling. One of the best investments I've made as far as baby gear goes. It's use has been invaluable, lasting much longer than the bjorn (he's too big for that now, but we loved that too when he was smaller). The great thing about the sling is that you just put them in differently as they grow. It especially comes in handy when I have lots to carry to or from the car, allowing me to hold Will hands-free. It was also a lifesaver when I had to fly to Florida alone with Will.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Down Time

Recently Will has stopped having consistent morning naps, even though some days he still gets a little sleepy/fussy around 10 or 11. Instead of pushing him to nap when he doesn't seem to want one, I've decided to give him some "down time" in his crib. I put him in there with his blankie and turn the mobile on and he just chills. I just went in to check on him because he was babbling fussily, and when I got in there I saw that his mobile had turned off (it goes 15 min. at a time). Upon turning it on again he got the silliest little grin on his face and proceeded to stare at it adoringly. Cute!

Lately I have been trying to get Will to laugh because: #1. He doesn't do it often and #2. It makes my heart melt. The other night Rodney had him on his lap on the couch right before bed and had him giggling away. I tried to capture it on film and he stopped as soon as he saw the camera (of course). Then we unsucessfully tried to get a shot of his new teeth (sorry it's so dark):

I don't know why, but I LOVE taking pictures of Will while he sleeps. Maybe it's that vulnerable state that sleep induces. Whatever it is, I think it's so much fun to sneek into his room during his naps and snap a few shots (like the butt-sleeping shots from the other day). Yesterday I went in to wake him (crazy I know) because it was a late nap that had lasted a little too long. Here's the picture I took:

I think what got me the most were his hands: they're starting to look like boy hands instead of baby hands. I was a little disappointed after I took this shot, because as soon as the flash went off, he woke up (I quickly ducked down to avoid being seen because I wanted to keep this moment suspended in time). After he discovered me hiding, he shimmied over and gave me these faces through the crib slats:

I love it when he wakes from a nap happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Favorite Sleeping Position

Mine is on my back. Well, atleast I start out that way and then I find myself on my side by morning. Falling asleep on my side was never very easy for me when I was pregnant. Rodney sleeps a lot on his stomach (he'd really have a hard time being pregnant! hee hee). Ever since we did sleep training with Will, he rolls over on his right side as we put him down in his crib and eventually makes his way onto his tummy in the night. The past two nights I've gone in to check on him before I go to bed and have caught him in this position:

It's kinda hard to see, but his butt is sticking straight up in the air. The best angle for this picture would have been from the side, but the crib slats prevented that so we have two aerial views. It's pretty cute.

Sleep has definately turned into something I can now expect to get. Just four months ago I would dream of such luxury! Now we do our routine, lay him in the crib at 8:30 and can pretty much expect not to hear from him until anywhere between 6-7 am. Wow.

On to to other things. One of the most interesting developmental milestones thus far for Will has been his newfound ability to crawl. Here's a video:

With this new freedom, he has taken to explore our home. At first, whenever we put him down, he would shimmy over to the wall and play with the baseboards (which he still does and you saw him do a little bit in the video above). But more recently I've found him playing with the doorstop behind the door in his room and then eventually in the corner behind the door. A few times he's yelped for help from this spot because he can't back his way out! He's also taken to crawling to any cord he sees so he can put it in his mouth. Scary. He also likes to crawl over to the fireplace grate and scratch it with his little fingers. I used to just put a fortress of couch pillows around it, but now he just climbs right over them to play with it. My sister used to have this huge connectable plastic gate thing in her living room where Mia would play without fear of getting into things. I used to think it was a little "control freaky" of my sister. Now, I completely understand why she did this and just might copy her clever idea. What child wouldn't love a giant play pen anyway?

As usual I will close with some photos. Some of Will, Che, and some of our new office/music room. I'm not sure why we didn't do this before as we weren't really using the sunroom for anything purposeful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Holidays

Once again, our holiday vacation produced within me a strong desire to do absolutely NOTHING. Including blogging. I of course had tons of time and chose to either sleep, read, do a puzzle (with the rest of the Malone family), play with Will and Yuri and do a tiny bit of exercise. It was a wonderfully restful trip. Will and Yuri were both feeling under the weather and by New Years Day we decided to take Will in to the emergency room. The ER doctor told us it was bronchiolitis, but that his oxygen levels were very good (the main cause of concern). He told us that there isn't really any medication and that we just had to wait it out. So, we've been wiping snotty noses and listening to deep-chested coughs for a couple of weeks now. We were concerned about his discomfort with sleeping, so we did all the no-nos and he was up every 3-4 hours for the duration of our trip. He started showing signs of improving by the time we returned from Kansas and it took one night of "following the rules" and he was back on schedule. Also, VERY much more content during the day. Apparently, continuous sleep through the night is good for not only us, but Will too!

Here are some updates: Will's basically crawling, although not very deliberately. He's getting one tiny tooth on the top right and it looks like maybe his top two front teeth are trying to push through. Crazy! He babbles a lot too, mostly sticking with "da da da da." I'm sad to say that perhaps Rodney will be the first to be verbally acknowledged by our child. Sniff, sniff. It's so cute though, I don't really care what he's says first. We also graduated from the newborn/infant tub (on top of the kitchen sink) to the bathtub. One of us gets in there with him and we splash and play after we've scrubbed. It's so much fun. Both lunch and dinner are served up in his high chair with breast feeding sessions mixed in between. It's both liberating and frightening to observe the gradual moving away from his sole dependence upon me for food (atleast when a bottle is not offered).

Here are some photos from Christmas:

A blurry living room

Baby's First Christmas

Can you guess what this is?

Happy Crawler
Christmas Sleeper

"Does this color match my eyes?"

Uncle B

Opening Zoo Train (thanks Gma & Gpa Malone!)


My new favorite toys