March 30, 2010

Waking Up Happy

Here is the angel-face that greets me when I come to get him from a nap ...

March 25, 2010

Three Months

Precious Benjamin,

Today you are 3 months old!!! My what a smart boy you are. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you as you learn, grow and change each and every day.

It's the end of your "fourth trimester" so the baby scientists would consider you to truly be ready for life outside the womb. And right on track, you seem to be wanting to explore your surroundings and discover things around you more each day. You are sitting up on your arms now, and you kick your legs around and try to get up on your knees like you want to crawl. You have started responding to your name, and you whip your head around when you hear a noise or want to look in a different direction. You stand up on your legs straighter than before, and Daddy is convinced that you could stand on your own if you just keep a wide base and could keep your balance a little better. Personally, I am content with you being a non-mobile baby for the time being :)

You just slept through the night for the first time ... went to bed around 7:30, ate in a dream state at 10:30, and slept til 7:15! When Mommy woke up at 5:30am, I ran to your room and slept the rest of the time in the rocking chair because I couldn't believe you were actually OK sleeping this long. It was nice, and good for you to get such good rest.

You also just started grasping at things. When we hold a toy near your hand, we can see your brain calculating your next move - see object, open all fingers, move  arm, close all fingers around object - SUCCESS! You hold onto it tightly for a while and then make a throwing motion and let go, or just drop it unceremoniously because your attention has shifted elsewhere.

You are making lots of wonderful noises, ah-goos, bffs, and every once in a while, you test your vocal range with a squeal to the upper octaves.

You are sunshine in our days and our brightest star at night. Our love for you knows no bounds. We feel blessed to be your Mommy and Daddy and help you realize all the amazing potential that lies within you. We love you angel!

March 24, 2010

It's No Coincidence ...

... that the day after Ben slept the longest he has ever slept (6 hours straight), I went for my first run since, mmmm, probably 5 months pregnant. It felt good to go for a run. And by "good" I mean it hurt, but it was 30 minutes of free time listening to non-baby music (thank you Pink and Jay-Z) and I felt great once it was finished.

On the sleeping front, we are starting to make a more concerted effort to "train" Ben that he doesn't need to eat in the middle of the night. He has spent so long eating around the 3:30-4:30 hour that I think he is now waking out of habit rather than his body really needing to be fed at that time. At 3 months, he should physiologically/metabolically be able to go at least 8 hours if not longer between the last feeding of the night and the first of the morning, and I always feed him last at 10:30pm. So when he starts to stir, if it's before 5am, Jeff goes in to give him a paci. That's usually all it takes to help baby settle back to sleep. It took 3 nights of this process to get Ben to stop waking around the 2am mark, and now we are working on moving his habitual 3:30-4:30am waketime later too.

And no post would be complete without a picture ... so here are a couple to go along with the sleeping theme.

March 20, 2010

Bye Bye Swaddle ...

... It's been SO nice having you around. You've been there for us since the beginning, helping Ben feel secure, helping him get important sleep, and aiding him in the transition from the womb to the world. We will miss you!Lately Ben has been gaining more control of his arms, and with this newfound skill, he no longer appreciates being swaddled tightly to sleep. Another sign he is moving out of the newborn stage - sigh. So now we put him in a "wearable blanket" that's like a long vest/sleep sack. It took him about a day to get used to it, but the process we've incorporated of sitting quietly with him before naps or bed to help him get into a sleep-ready mode has relly helped ease the transition. He's so ready to go o sleep by the time we put him down that he is not depending on the swaddle to help him feel secure.

March 18, 2010

Tummy Time: An Infant Workout

Ben has not been a huge fan of tummy time, but as he approached three months of age, we really tried to be more insistent that he spend increasing amounts of time doing this infant workout. He just reached a big milestone and raised up on his arms! We placed a mirror in front of him as incentive to lift his head up, and he wasted no time getting his arms underneath him to support his weight. He luuuuves that baby in the mirror ;) Way to go Baby Ben! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you :) This pictures are of your first time getting up on your arms ... the first step to crawling and walking!!!

March 10, 2010

LeeAnn & Ella Come to Visit!

We had a super-fun weekend when my Aunt LeeAnn and Cousin Ella came to visit from SC! Ella was such a doll with Benjamin, and she did a great job picking out outfits, burping him and playing with him. She even read him stories!!!

We enjoyed a great afternoon in Grapevine, and had a fancy night out at my fave sushi restaurant Steel. We shopped, ate, drank, and visited all weekend, and it was awesome.

March 8, 2010

Ben's First Overnight Trip

This past weekend we went down to Austin to celebrate our SIL Shannon's baby shower, whose baby girl is due at the end of April. It was such a good weekend! We stayed at Jeff's parents house, and they had set up a mini-nursery in the room we stay in there, complete with a changing table, mobile, and a basket of baby goodies. SO sweet :)

Saturday was the shower, and it was awesome. It was a great turnout, and they received so many adorable gifts. Ben was the only dude there, and he wasted no time trying out one of his cousin's new toys :)It was fun to see all the girly outfits Ben's cousin will be sporting. I can't wait to meet this precious little girl, and am really excited for the two cousins to be able to grow up together.

March 3, 2010

Two Month Checkup

We had Benjamin's two-month checkup yesterday. He got a glowing report from the pediatrician! He's long and lean ... already 25.5 inches long (97th percentile for height) and 13.5 lbs (50th percentile for weight). These are very similar to his stats at birth, so it's great to see he has been growing consistently. Developmentally Ben is right on track or ahead of pace on all measures. He is socializing, having tummy time, tracking objects, starting to reach for things, and bearing all his weight on his legs. He is nursing great and the Dr. said we will not even think about solids til after his next well visit at 4 months.After the pleasantries, it was time for shots. They combined 5 vaccinations into 3 shots, which they administered into Ben's thighs. I was heartsick leading up to the appointment, but was trying to stay positive and normal for Ben's sake. Precious had "woken up happy" that morning for the first time ever - as he woke at 7:30am and saw my face hovering over his crib, his face transformed into a huge smile and he let out a coo. As I saw his happy, innocent face greeting the new day, I was devastated to think of what the day would hold. But, I knew he would get through it. I knelt close to him and talked softly to him as the first shot went in. The worst part for me was the look of surprise and shock on his face as he felt the pain - the moment before his face turned red and he started crying so hard. They did all three shots fast thank goodness, and I picked my baby up as soon as I could and held him close. He was comforted and stopped crying within a minute. He cried later in the afternoon, but I spent lots of time snuggling and holding him close, trying to help him get through what must have been a very uncomfortable time. He was such a trooper!

March 1, 2010

On Becoming Baby Wise

Well, things have been a little different around here lately. Ever since reading and incorporating the Baby Wise philosophy into our daily lives, Momma has been happier, baby has been even more content settling into a predictable routine, and Daddy is happy that the family is in harmony :) I have seen the effects that a husband/wife bond has on family life first hand, and really buy into the notion that the core of the family is a healthy, loving spousal relationship, which in turn fosters a healthy parent-child relationship and provides the security and positiive sense of self children require. The best thing we can do for the baby is to provide a solid, loving home - and help baby understand that there is a structure and routine for his life.

As a Type-A personality who thrives on structure and control, the Baby Wise process has given me some peace of mind that there can be a flexible structure amidst the chaos and unpredictability of life with an infant. Ever since about 6 weeks, we have been incorporating a schedule that begins with a feeding at 7:30am, followed by some awake time, followed by a nap, until another feeding ~ 3 hours after the previous one. We repeat this schedule of eat, wake, sleep throughout the day until the "dreamfeed" at 10:30pm, which Ben doesn't really fully wake up for ... he nurses with his eyes closed and goes right back to sleep when he's finished. Then we let baby sleep until he wakes me up at some point in the night. It started that we would only go about 3 hours, then 3.5, then 4. I am usually up with him for about an hour during the middle of the night feeding(s). As he goes longer, it has reduced the number of times I am up with him during the night. We hope the trend of extending nighttime sleep will continue, until eventually he will sleep from his dreamfeed at 10:30pm until his waketime of 7:30am.

Of course every child is different, and every parent has their own opinions about what is best for their life/baby. I don't agree with everything Baby Wise espouses - like letting your baby cry it out - I just can't stand to do that, and for our baby, it works to attend to him and help him not be upset. He hardly ever cries and almost always goes right to sleep, so I know there is probably something he needs help with if he is crying. All in all though, I'm really happy we have found a reference to help provide structure for us and a healthy routine for Ben.