Monday, November 21, 2011

Changes . . .

You don't have to know me well to know that I'm not a gal who likes change.  I can and do eat the same meals for breakfast and lunch every day (and would do the same for dinner if Jeff would let me!); I've been working at the same job for over six years; I've been going to the same hairdresser since I was 15; I've been wearing the same eye makeup practically since I started wearing eye shadow; I can read the same books and watch the same movies and TV episodes over and over . . . you get the idea.  I like routine; I find stability there.  As I'm sure it does for a lot of people, change throws me off-kilter, not just in terms of what I do on a day-to-day basis, but on a deeply emotional level.

The last year has brought one of the biggest life changes out there into our family - our beautiful son, Reed Alexander.  While there have been a few rocky periods of adjustment, particularly the first month and a half before Reed slept for longer stretches of time, and when I went back to work three months ago, I've actually been surprised at how relatively unaffected I have felt by all of it.  Reed's arrival has certainly changed everything about the way Jeff and I live our lives, and we have had to adjust not only the way we socialize and prioritize, but also the way we interact with each other.  But I have not felt emotionally rocked in the way I thought possible, given the hugeness of having a baby.

Perhaps it was all just storing up for the last two days.  This morning we closed on our townhouse of 3 1/2 years, effectively ending that first chapter our married and family life.  Even as I type, I feel grief roll through me and tears stream down my face.  This morning as we did our final walk-through of the house with the new sellers, I stood for a long time in front of what was Reed's nursery, staring at the room in which I spent so many hours in the last 7+ months.  Despite its small size, I love everything about that room - its warm yellow walls, its nearness to the master bedroom (just 13 steps from my side of the bed to the crib), the closeness of the crib to the doorway (so I could see his sweet face from the door), the window overlooking the grassy common area of the complex.  Jeff and I put so much time and love into that one room.  I can't believe that I won't ever be in it again.

While I know the next chapter is going to be just as special - finding that forever home in which we will raise Reed (and hopefully other children as well) and host family gatherings, birthday parties, and sleepovers - I'm chafing at the change and uncomfortable with the in-between state we're in now, living in an apartment and not knowing for how long or when that perfect house is going to come on the market.  I never anticipated feeling this much grief at leaving 827 Ivy League Lane.  Some sadness, of course, but not the sense of loss and mourning I feel now.  I have to believe some of that is due to the fear and discomfort I feel with the huge change and transition taking place.

On top of the move, since last week Reed has been on a nursing strike, which started with just the bedtime feedings but has now extended to the morning feedings as well.  There could be a myriad of reasons - teething, his umpteenth cold, my stress from the move, a dip in my milk supply - but the idea of giving up nursing is putting me into more of a tailspin than the move!  I have LOVED nursing Reed.  He's been a fantastic nurser nearly from the start and it's been my unique joy to provide his nourishment.  I love the closeness of nursing him - something I realized even more in the last few days, when I've had to give him a bottle.  There is an intimacy in holding him close and stroking his soft little head and hair, with his hands wrapped around my fingers, that just isn't there when he's propped on my lap taking a bottle.

Here's the thing - rationally I know that Reed will not breastfeed forever.  And I've never wanted to breastfeed a toddler.  But I always thought that the decision to wean would be mine, not his, and I also thought it would be gradual.  From everything I've read and heard (thank you, Beth Steiner!), I've heard that nursing strikes are common and don't necessarily mean that Reed is done nursing.  I'm praying this is the case and that we're just going through a bad patch.  While I can prepare myself for the inevitable change coming down the road, when Reed no longer nurses, I'm not quite ready yet!  One huge change this week is enough for me.  So, fingers crossed that we can weather this nursing strike and get Reed back on track soon.

But what I need to remind myself of is this: change, while scary and uncomfortable, is not bad.  It's necessary and can bring new and exciting developments to our lives.  I can be sad at leaving our old house, but this change is going to bring us a bigger house that will allow us to grow as a family.  And I can mourn the fact that I may soon have to give up my precious nursing sessions with Reed, but I can delight in the fact that he's growing and developing his independence.  These changes may mean the end of one stage, but they mark the beginning of another.  Here's to new stages!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reed is Seven Months Old!

October just flew by and before we knew it, our sweet Reed turned seven months old!  It astounds us how quickly he develops and we just love being witness to the emergence of this little person.  Although he's still an amazingly good-natured baby, Reed definitely has strong likes and dislikes (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree there!) and can be quite determined when he puts his mind to something (surprised?).  We're already so proud of him and can't wait to see more of his developing personality.

But for now, here are the things we want to remember about Reed Alexander at seven months:
  • At around 19 pounds and 27 3/4 inches, Reed is really starting to level out in the percentiles.  He's now 53rd for weight and 64th for height.  Not that you'd know it from his chunky thighs and deliciously chubby cheeks - everyone we see comments on those cheeks!
  • Speaking of the cheeks, nuzzling them is one of my very favorite things in the world.  They're unbelievably soft and just perfect for kissing!
  • He's wearing 9- and 12-month clothing.
  • Reed is still taking five liquid feedings (breastmilk only) a day - 6:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 6:45 p.m.  During the week, the middle three feedings are bottles at daycare and he takes a full 8 ounces at each.  I think he takes around 8 ounces in the morning and less than that, probably 5-6 ounces, at night.
  • We've been trying solid food for about a month and a half now, but to our surprise, Reed really hasn't taken to it.  He liked it more when we first started, but now he often turns his head away or won't open his mouth.  We've been somewhat successful with yogurt, cheese, and the Gerber puffs that he can gum on, but he hasn't really liked a lot of the purees, including apple sauce and bananas.  
  • We introduced the sippy cup this month.  Reed likes to suck on it, but hasn't quite mastered tilting it back and actually getting water out.
  • He always takes two naps a day (one around 8:40 a.m. and the second around 11:30 a.m.), ranging in length from an hour to an hour and a half.  Sometimes he'll take a third, shorter nap, around 45 minutes, in the later afternoon, but that's becoming more rare.
  • Reed's nighttime sleep habits have really been great this last month.  He goes down between 6:45 and 7:00 p.m. and wakes up around 6:30 and 6:45 a.m.  For the most part, the nighttime wake-ups have stopped.  Mostly because . . . 
  • Reed is a pro at finding his paci and putting it in his mouth!  While he might put it in backward at first, he knows how to turn it around to get it right-side up, and can often find the paci in his crib on his own.  This has made a world of difference for Jeff and me - no more getting up in the night to put the paci back in!
  • Reed's hand/eye coordination and dexterity have grown by leaps and bounds.  The pacifier is one example, but he's great at playing with his toys as well.  He reaches for things with one hand, transfers them from one hand to the other, reaches deliberately for objects (as opposed to grabbing willy-nilly), and bangs things together.  He can even sometimes put the balls in the holes of his favorite monkey toy. 
  • Speaking of the monkey toy, it has helped him learn cause and effect.  He knows that when he hits a part of the toy, it will make noise or play a song.  He doesn't always hit the right part, but he knows that banging on it will produce sound.
  • Reed can sit easily on his own now (although he can't get into a sitting position by himself yet), without leaning on his hands for support, and seems happiest when in that position or when being held or carried.
  • His favorite toys are those that make music - his train, octopus, monkey, piano, and musical book.  He also still likes Sophie and his stacking cups.
  • Reed absolutely recognizes his own name now and turns his head when you call him.
  • When I pick Reed up at daycare, he grins like crazy and seems so happy to see me - makes my day!
  • Guaranteed to make Reed laugh - or at least smile: Daddy's "sneezing" (see video below!), spinning around in Mommy's arms, and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (complete with hand motions).
  • On his seven month birthday, Reed's Grammy taught him how to wave "hi".  He's best at close range and he's not always consistent, but he loves reaching out with his hand when you raise your hand up in greeting, especially if you grab his hand and cheer for him.  :)
  • While he doesn't raise them high, he has started to raise his arms to be picked up.
  • Reed loves to blow raspberries and will often spend several minutes at a time doing so.
  • He's also a very proficient babbler!  He's extended his vocabulary to include ba, ra, la, ma, da, and ga, and he often strings them together.
  • Reed is slowly starting to enjoy peek-a-boo.  He can pull off a cloth placed on his head, and sometimes even covers his own head and pulls it off.
These monthly lists seem to get longer and longer, but I just don't want to forget a single thing.  Here are some fun pics (and video) of our favorite seven-month old!

So silly!
Mommy's funny!
That paper is MINE!
Got it!
Game over - I win!

Reed loves hanging out on Daddy's shoulders

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Little Fishy

Reed had his first swim class today - Bobblers I - and he loved it!  After a few minutes of "water adjustment" time, we walked down a ramp into a shallow-end pool and swam around for about 25 minutes.  Our class sang "Wheels on the Bus" (an old favorite of Reed's), practiced different water holds, and just enjoyed being in the water with our little ones.  Reed had a blast.  But he was quite the tuckered-out fella when he got home and crashed for an hour and a half nap.  Here's some video that Jeff captured of Reed enjoying the pool.