Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yoga, Sickness, & Recovery!

3 Generations of large
hands: Mom's, mine,
& Ian's.
During Ian's twenty-sixth week of life, my notes sometimes say two completely different things. In the beginning of the week he had tons of energy, was pushing himself to new levels physically, and was so worn out and tired for sleep. And then sickness hit.

But let's start with the befores and then we'll get into the rest.

My mom came for an extended visit because her school was on spring break. We don't often get "girl time," just the two of us, so it was a nice treat to have her here. We cooked together, talked, and together just enjoyed "being." Ian, of course, was the center of attention, but when he'd go down it was nice to have someone around to talk to.

 Ian loved showing his Äma all of the asanas he could do. She'd watch him do a pose and then attempt to do it herself. For a few years now her school has offered yoga and exercise classes to the teachers after school is over and she is really enjoying them.

She kept commenting on how strong he is and how difficult some of his poses were. In particular, the fish pose (mentioned and shown in previous post) is particularly hard. Especially to be able to bring the top of his head almost parallel to the floor. This requires a great deal of neck strength. I tried it and it was way too painful!!
 I have a few pictures of Ian and Äma after he just got up from a nap. With our busy baby, cuddling is best found right after a nap, when he's still a bit groggy.

Jim captured this of the farm across the way.
Ian was really trying to scoot a lot in the beginning of last week. Sometimes he'd have a forward thrust, but most often he'd move backwards or in a circle. It was after these active periods that he was desperate for a nap. One day he even took five naps, when he normally only takes three! During those days it was almost a piece of cake to put him down to sleep. He'd nurse, fall asleep, and be easy to lie in bed.

Or he'd nurse, then easily nod off while I cuddled and rocked him to sleep. I'd then put him down in his crib. I love this new routine, especially since he isn't a real cuddly fellow.
You can see him trying to breathe through his mouth,
instead of his nose.

Thanks Gramee & Grandpa for the classic rings toy
and Aunt Beth for the gear/sun/smiley-face toy!
And to Carol H. for the adorable outfit!!!

On Thursday things started to change a bit for the little guy. He started coughing a lot and his nose became very congested. Jim had the same thing, so we decided to see if it would run its course. We bulb syringed his nose before sleep and Jim checked his lungs often with the stethoscope (Nice perk of having a medical student as a papa!!).

He had difficulty going down to sleep because his nose was runny and babies breathe through their noses, primarily. It made him fussy and irritable. And it really made nursing a difficult task for him, even though breastmilk is the best thing for him for hydration and for fighting disease.

It took a lot of walking and bobbing, bouncing on the shoulder, singing, and eventually rocking (when he allowed me to finally sit down) before he'd fall asleep. Then came the challenge of transferring him to the crib without waking him up!! He's been propped on a pillow, slightly, because has thrown up or had difficulty clearing his wind pipe (Thank goodness for video monitors!).

Jim found that he liked to have his head rubbed!
Haha! I love this little action shot.
Once finally asleep, his sleep was disrupted by coughing fits. Fortunately he seemed to always fall back to sleep, but it was not very restful. Nights were really miserable.

Other than around sleep, though, you hardly noticed that he wasn't feeling well! He'd still laugh, giggle, coo, and play. He wasn't quite as mobile, but his spirits were high! This shocked us, since he wasn't getting quality sleep.

Thanks, Aunt Carla for the monkey and the football! Both popular
items right now. And the hat... Aunt Sherri, is a winner!
Of course it all came on right before the weekend, so the office was closed when we were ready to call in. But after discussing it on Sunday we decided to take him in the next day, just in case something was wrong.

Turns out he had an ear infection in his left ear! He gave us no signs of an ear infection! No rubbing the ear. Nothing. Poor little lad. So, he's on antibiotics now. The cough and congestion will have to run its course, but I picked up an over-the-counter saline.

Last night was much better and saline definitely helped!

Ian's started rocking back and forth a lot while sitting. Sometimes it seems it's because he's excited and other times he's just rockin'. He leans forward much more on his hands when reaching for an object out of his reach.

He's started looking for where the music is coming from, when I first turn it on. And he's enjoyed being danced around the room or watching us make fools of ourselves in front of him by dancing. No pictures of that yet, sorry. May not ever get some of those ;)
Floor time with Papa.
He sure does love his papa. As the beard grows longer and longer, so Ian's fascination also grows. If he's close enough, he normally gets a good handful.

One thing the doctors told me was that you can purchase a vapor bath, bubble bath to help clear his congestion. Who can resist a good, warm bath!! This was Ian's first time in a BIG bathtub, since we don't have one in our apartment. It was also his first time with a BUBBLE bath!!!

Oh, the splashing... the kicking, the fun with the bubbles! How fun it will be to have a real tub at our new place.

Happy 26 weeks, little guy!!!

We sure do hate seeing you sick.
But we're grateful to have caught it when we did.
And now we think you're on the mend!

Right now you are peacefully sleeping after a nice, warm bath. 
That sounds pretty nice.
Rest & recover, sweet baby boy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Yesterday Ian turned six months old and had his first half birthday! It seems as though I just wrote his five month post, but here we are at six months, already!

Ian's sixth month has been so full of joy, ease, and happiness. No wonder it's flown by.
He's gotten so long.
 And will take almost any excuse to smile at anyone.
Boy, is he ever curious! Reaching for everything he can.
 Those baby blues just keep getting bluer and bluer. The hair, a bit blonder but still reddish.
 Your sounds more diverse and dynamic, with strong projection!!!

 He's still a baby, but looking more like a little boy.
 He's got healthy rolls.
 And is starting to play fun games.
 And never. ever. stops. moving.
 He's strong like an ox.
 That little babe of ours.
 Here he is in the sweater my mom knitted for me when I was a babe. It's fun to come full circle.

Happy six months and half birthday, little scooter! 

You love: starting to scoot, singing (especially Mama's), sucking your fingers, rocking to sleep, wrestling blankets and stuffed animals, squealing, practicing multiple yoga poses (bound ankle, cobra, happy baby, fish pose, and more!) holding things in your hands and studying or sucking on them, Papa's rough-housing (especially around the jumper in the kitchen- swinging), lying on your side when awake or asleep, sitting outside, Leif, and oatmeal & bananas.

We're not sure where the time's going, but we're not going to miss a beat!
You sure are one loved grandbaby, nephew, and child.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Next Crocodile Dundee

You may not have known, but we are currently raising the next Crocodile Dundee. He spends his days wrestling with this guy. We always have known and thought that Ian was strong, we just didn't realize that he'd be wrestling and schooling crocodiles at less than six months old.
As a parent it's a little unnerving, but at least we don't live in Louisiana anymore!!
Just chewing on the tail of a scary reptile. #nobigdeal
Thank you, Äma, for the fun gator!!!
If I had not just uploaded this picture myself, I would have thought it was one of my baby pictures. It's just uncanny how much it looks like me. And there's a soccer ball in the background to boot! Sometimes he looks exactly like Jim and then sometimes he resembles me. It could be because Jim and I look VERY much alike ;)

Ian spends a lot of time on his tummy these days. Exploring, reaching, moving, and sometimes getting stuck, he's always active. He often ends up under this coffee table somehow.

His newest trick is to straighten his arms, lifting his entire body. He'll do sets of these and then rest and go again. Each time he did it in the beginning we'd cheer him on and encourage him. The biggest smile would spread across his face.

Though I don't have a picture of it, he's also started double-fisting his toys. With one in each hand, he can make decisions about which toy he prefers to bring to his mouth first. Sometimes he chooses both. 

Ian enjoys slamming his hands or toys against anything that will make a sound. The floor, his high chair tray, the table, you name it... Every time he blinks his eyes in surprise, even though he's the one making the sound. 

At the moment he seems to prefer his right hand. We'll see if he ends up being left-handed or right-handed. 

So content, even when Papa uses him as a footrest.

This week Ian and I went to a mom and child playdate. It was the first of many weekly play dates, which is very exciting for me! Ian obviously can't be excited about it yet, but I'm sure he will be during the next three years. But boy, did he enjoy himself! He was fascinated by all of the other babies and children, watching them, leaning toward them, trying to touch them. There were many new and different toys for him to play with, too. I wasn't sure how he'd be around other crying children, but he'd just look as if he were determining why they were upset. At one point a two year old threw a block at him and he had the same puzzled look on his face. I think the hair on the back of my neck raised, but he seemed fine and it didn't hit him the the face. That might have been the first time the mama bear instinct came into gear. Overall, it was really fun and I'm glad to have this group to look forward to each week!
We had a wonderful visit with Jim's parents who came in for a couple nights!! Ian was incredibly loved and doted upon for the entire visit. Books were read, diapers changed, many toys were played with, and lots of cuddles, hugs, and coos were enjoyed by all.
 Kim/Gramee always tries to make the most of every minute and moment she's with Ian. She's so warm, eager and excited during her interactions with him, noticing everything she can. It's amazing, the love of a grandmother. She sure spent a lot of time on the floor!!

John/Grandpa is the same way. He comments on all of his movements, on how strong and sturdy he is, how "contented," and watched continuously for which hand he prefers during his activities.

Jim got off early on Friday, which was an absolutely gorgeous day, so we had to make the most of it and get outside. We packed up and headed to the Huckleberry Trail and walked and walked. Ian had a great nap while we all talked and enjoyed the nice day. 

Then we took them for a drive by our new place. This summer we'll be moving to a place in Christiansburg, where we'll probably stay for the next three years. It has a playground in walking distance from the home, a nice backyard, and more space than we've ever had. Oh, and I might be just a little too excited by the fact that it has a dishwasher!! Hehe.

Giggle fits are more and more prevalent. Such joy they bring to whoever encourages them!!!

Ian's hand-eye coordination is constantly impressing us, these day! Here he is with the ring set Gramee & Grandpa gave him. He can grab things much smaller and narrower, though, like his Grandpa's laces. He had them in each hand yesterday.

Ian has started arching his back while lying on his back on the floor and it lifts his entire back up. Pretty incredible! Here he is showing off one of his new tricks. The little milestones babies meet each day and each week are really quite astounding.

Äma says this is "Fish Pose."
It's an advanced Yoga pose. Well done, Ian :)

If we exercised as much as they do, we'd all be body builders!!

Gramee gave Ian a bath. This is the first time we've documented his newest bath behaviors. He is longer a passive participant during bath times. Instead he's sitting up, grabbing whatever's in reach and making sure that the person bathing him gets just as wet as he does!!! Normally we put the whale in the shower stall, since we don't have a bathtub in our apartment, but we brought him into the living room this time. Soon we'll no longer be able to use this whale tub anymore. We're looking forward to having a real tub!
Post-bath cuddle with Grandpa.
 Jim gave John a few Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) treatments. We have a table he uses to practice on me and other family members and some friends.

Recreation of the first photo at ten days old!
And soon it was time to say goodbyes. Thank you so much for a wonderful visit!!! We'll see you in May for Jim's graduation!!! Ian loved his time with you and so did we.

Perhaps it was a little too windy and sunny for this little boy after his nap!

This morning Ian scooted around in a complete circle and BACKWARDS. Look at that bum. As soon as he figures out how to lift his torso and bum at the same time he'll be off to the races. So wild.
 At first I think he was trying to move forward toward an object, but once he realized that backwards was working... well, he went with it.
He's just a bit excited about it, I'd say.

Happy 25 weeks, Ian Forrester!!!

Active and busy as ever.
Ready to wrestle real reptiles.

And incredibly loved.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Hiker!

Don't turn around. And certainly don't blink.
You just might miss something. 

This boy is growing WAY too fast and time is going WAY too fast.
This week I finally realized something about my concept of time. In my mind, it's just not possible for it to be March already. In Käthe time, everything stopped on September 18, 2013. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep or the fact that I get to spend all of my days on baby time. I don't know, but it's wild the way time is flying. Some days seem long, but maybe that's because each moment is lived more fully.  Each moment is more precious and savored. But it's still funny to me that my mind can play a trick on itself like that. 

Thanks for the Philly book,
Aunt Erin & Uncle Russ!
I love the stage Ian's in right now. He's fairly easy to calm down into a nap and bedtime, since he just nurses himself to sleep (it's more about how we time the day).  There have been a few days when he was still awake after nursing and upset, but Papa had the magic touch! Now he seems to be back to falling asleep while nursing. 

He doesn't mind riding in the car. He's happy throughout grocery-shopping experiences. He's happy to see whoever we see, whether it's in a store or one of our good friends. He doesn't startle himself awake, usually. And he's really just content to be with us, wherever we'd like to go (not that he has much choice in the matter!).

When I mentioned planning our day, I just meant that I *try* to be conscious of his nap times. I watch him for signals, which normally is when he rubs his eyes, makes a bit of a frown, and brushes his hand back and forth through the hair on the side of his head. Then I try to nurse him before he gets upset and truly agitated. Often he falls straight to sleep and I have to almost beg him to stay awake by rubbing his cheek or tickling the bottom of his feet, but sometimes it takes more rocking or singing/humming.

Sometimes naps get off because of our activities, but I am trying to make decisions that put him first. Sometimes I just miss something. Sometimes I have to make it to keep my sanity ;) Either way, he is a very content baby overall and some of that can be chalked up to being well-rested.

Here's the beginnings of the story: A Boy and His Dog. Ian watches him so intently, studying his every move. Leif trumps everything, including nursing. Well, actually, Ian does not nurse well in places with any sort of activity. It's best if I go in the nursery and close the door, since Leif and Papa's movements are quite interesting to him. And if we're out, I can count on it not being a full session and more like a snack, unless he's really hungry. I've heard babies go through stages like these and then they realize what's most important. He's obviously not wanting for sustenance! 

Ian's realizing that things are more than they seem. He has started lifting the blanket and the mat to look below. There's a clip that is just so fascinating to play with. His determination is fun to observe. 

Ian chose good parents for spending time outside. He LOVES being outside, feeling the wind, the grass, and enjoying a change of scenery. Even in the cold weather, he's happy to be out. We're so grateful.

He is sitting with such confidence and stability these days. Last week I mentioned that he falls forward on his face when reaching for things in front of him. This week he learned to balance himself by placing one of both of his hands on the ground in front of him. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Although he still takes the occasional tumble, it's not always absolutely necessary for us to spot him, though we still usually do. When he's on this blanket with the pad under it, it's not so dire. But today when he was sitting on concrete... then we were spotting him.

Thanks, Aunt Sherri, for the
sleeping jammies!
This week Ian continued to dabble with avocados and bananas. If he was interested while we were eating, then we'd grab one of the two of these. It's not every day. We're letting him lead.

One of his new favorite toys is this kitchen utensil. It's soft on his gums and the long handle is easy for him to hold. He also likes banging it on his high chair, the floor, and on anything else that will make a sound. We may have a drummer in the family...

He's fascinated by my wet, shower hair and looks at me like I'm crazy. He loves Papa's different voices and sounds while reading a book.

As anyone who's talked to me on the phone will attest, Ian has some LUNGS on him. His joyful banter sometimes sounds like LOUD, ear-splitting shrieks!! It's a sweet sound, but I'm sure hard to hear through the phone!

He's also really started having gigggggle fits! I know I said he had them before, but these are just more and more fun. They normally involve something being slightly shaken, like an object he's holding or his arms or belly. Oh, how they make us all laugh and laugh!

This felt chain is one of his favorites, too. He likes to pull it apart and put it in his mouth. Thank you for the hand-me-down, Julie!!

Ian enjoys playing with blankets. He'll lift them up, cover his face, remove them, and smile. He enjoys it when someone puts one over his face and he finds his way back out.

In the car a song will normally do the trick, when he does start to get anxious. Old MacDonald, Down in the Valley, I'll Fly Away, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, Grandfather Clock, and Twinkle Twinkle are some of his favorites. The farm animals in Old MacDonald normally do the best job, but we have to start getting pretty creative with our animals and their sounds sometimes.

*The following pictures are from my cell phone, but they do the trick. (Thanks, Erin!)

Since the weather was so beautiful on Saturday, we headed out for a family hike. A family my mom taught gave us this Kelty backpack (Thank you!!!) and this was our first time breaking it in. It was finally warm enough that I didn't worry about Ian him getting too cold and we feel very confident about his head control. So, the time was now. AND Let me tell you, he loves this thing! The entire hike he didn't make a sound. His eyes danced everywhere, taking in the beautiful creek, moss, boulders, trees, and waterfalls.
He loved it so much that he fell fast asleep without a peep. 

He napped for a while, but then was back to his observations.

Unlike when we hiked to the Cascades when he was 14 weeks, this time Ian was awake and able to view the falls for the first time. He could also listen to the loud roar of the water.

 We hiked up to the upper falls and played and snacked before heading back down and home.
 It was a really great family day.

Ian's ensemble: awesome hat from Aunt Sherri, mittens & handmade booties from my mom. Thank you!
Happy 24 weeks, happy hiker!!!

We'll have many more hikes in our future.
We love getting to walk this life with you.