Thursday, April 10, 2014

High five!!

Stacy, our neighbor,
lounging with Ian.
With the spring weather and green grass finally here, we've been spending a lot of time outside!! Ian seems to relax and enjoy all of his senses when in the great outdoors. Since Jim doesn't get much time outside during the day, if any, we normally try to eat dinner as soon as he walks in the door and then head outside for some quality family time. If the meal is easy to eat outside, then we eat outside!

This week was a great one for family time. Jim miraculously was given Thursday through Sunday off. The ominous weather forecast thwarted our camping plans and care for Leif kept us from going to the beach, but we REALLY enjoyed our stay-cation at home.

Who? Me?
Each day we planned something different to enjoy as a special outing in our area. We tried to be mindful of Ian's nap times and capitalize on his most happy and energetic periods each day. Thursday we went to the pool and spent a long, lovely time in the warm, therapy pool. I even took a ride down the big water slide! Friday we went to Floyd and walked around the shops and galleries and then went to the Floyd Country Store & the Floyd Jamboree. Ian loved the singing, the music, and the dancing, but screamed the entire way there and the entire way home (45 minutes each way). New phase? Poor timing? Evening tiredness? Whatever it was, we learned that this time of the night and this activity probably won't happen again for another few months. You live and learn. 

Saturday we headed to the Blacksburg Farmer's Market and were deceived by the cold, but fortunately Ian was warm and cozy in the bunting in his stroller (Thanks, Mom!). We've been making some changes in our diet lately and went to Eats (a great resource for real, healthy, natural food), which is always a treat for us, to compare prices and get a few items. 
Saturday afternoon we had a great, lazy time under our new tent shelter. Naps, reading, & playing were enjoyed by all. We purchased this shelter to use at the beach, but we're finding that it's great in the space in front of our apartment. Since there aren't any trees, we didn't like taking Ian outside during the main, sunny times of the day. Now, voila! It doesn't matter anymore!

Sunday we went to Heritage Park with our friends Mike, Lindsay, Chappie and Leif's girlfriend, Abby. We are going to miss our spontaneous trips to the park with them almost every weekend. Fortunately, they won't be far away because Mike placed in Richmond for residency!! It's fun to see our babies interact and Leif is always completely tuckered out after a good romp with Abby.

The best part about this long weekend for me was that I got to sleep in every. single. day. THANK YOU, JIM! As soon as Ian woke up, Jim would take him so that I could sleep until his next feeding/nap. What a huge gift. The dark crescents under my eyes and parts of my brain that returned to functioning are grateful.

I love Ian's expressions when he sneezes. I promise this is not a pout. I'm sure those are coming in our future, but we haven't seen one yet! His sneezes are just so cute, still with a sigh following each round.

His new favorite toy is the handle of the green bucket in the picture above. He managed to pull it off of the bucket twice, so off it stays. He loves to gum it and flap it around. Babies make toys out of the things you think the least likely to be any fun! Observe and let him choose, I'm learning!

He continues to scoot backwards and in circles around the apartment. He's taking ground much easily now and getting stuck in all sorts of funny places. He's under the coffee table, under Jim's desk, under the high chair, under the ottoman, or stuck with his legs under the couch.

Toys are everywhere! Remember how he could empty the basket? Well, he does! Toys are strewn everywhere. One of the first things I do when he goes down for a nap is put them all back in the basket. He loves any object he can get, be it a whisk, plastic recyclable container, cardboard box, funnel, shoe, you name it. Baby-proofing has started! I read in the book I'll discuss later that a good test for choking hazards is to see if the item will fit through a toilet paper roll, so we now have one out and ready to test objects.

Here he has a funnel and his hitting it agains a plastic mixing bowl. It's getting easier and easier to distract him with a new "toy." There are so many things to explore with each object. How they are shaped, how they taste, how they feel in his mouth, how they feel on his hands. We cannot even begin to understand how much learning takes place with each new item.

Ian enjoys slapping his hands and tapping his feet agains the floor. When we mirror his slaps and taps he listens and then taps again. It's a fun game and neat to see him wait and observe us and then repeat his motions or create a different pattern.

Though I haven't caught any pictures of it yet, Ian has started high-fiving!! Jim took a skill he was already displaying and started putting a name to it. Now he goes up to Ian and says "High five" and Ian will give him fifteen, twenty, sometimes twenty-five. SO fun!!

He does seem to appear to understand more and more of what we say. I think he knows "Papa" or "Daddy" and "Leif" or "Dog." I think he probably knows "Mama," too. We try to talk to him a lot about what we're doing and to include him, when we can.
I just started reading Dear Parents: Caring for Infants with Respect by Magda Gerber. There was a good while during which I took a hiatus from reading any parenting books, but this book is a bit different. I am soaking up as much as I can. It's so good. It's all about instilling confidence in the parent and the child. One of the things she talks about is asking the child if you can pick them up, before you actually do the action. Then wait. Allow the child to respond. Well, as soon as I read it we started doing it and Ian's responding. It could be he was ready developmentally for it anyway, but when he's asked, he will reach for your arms and lean into them.

Perhaps my favorite thing that I'm getting out of the book is the concept of "Wants Nothing" time. It's so important for the child to feel secure in your presence and your love. Magda Gerber says that it's incredibly hard for us as parents/adults to sit with a child and not impress our expectations on them. When it comes to any developmental milestone, we sit and encourage them to attain something while we are with them. Instead, we should offer a lot of time of just sitting, observing, and trying to focus on the activities the child is already doing. We may be halting learning by imposing our own activities and agenda onto the child. Something I've already felt, done and seen done. I'm cherishing the time that I just sit and be with Ian, wanting nothing but to enjoy what he's doing. And attempting to learn more about him in the process.

It's neat because I was already doing (or attempting to do) these things, but this book justifies and encourages them.

The best way we have decided to describe one of Ian's favorite sounds is as a series of "gutteral grunts!" He smiles really big and sort of heaves out the grunt at the same time, repetitively. So cute. When I rock him to sleep and when he's playing, he really does babble to himself as if he's talking to a human. It's absolutely adorable! Sometimes I seriously doubt he can be anywhere near drowsy and right when I've decided to try again later I look down and he's asleep (notice the sometimes in the beginning of that sentence!).

Naps are a bit shorter, lately. His usual hour or forty-five minutes has been cut down to thirty, sometimes forty, or forty-five minutes. The thirty-minute ones always surprise me and I try to encourage him to stay down longer, usually to no avail. His third nap of the day tends to be the longest, either an hour or an hour and a half. Normally naps are at or around 9, 12, and 3, and then finally in bed around 8 PM. It's getting harder to transfer him into his crib and I have to be quite stealthy in the transfer. But when he's REALLY out, then he's out.

Papa is a celebrity around here. Ian LOVES it when Jim comes in the door at the end of the day. Just Jim standing and smiling at him when he comes in the door sends Ian into ecstatic kicks and smiles and giggles. This greeting is reserved only for Papa and it seems to get more pronounced and obvious each day. They have a significant bond, those two.
During reading time at night, Jim pulls out all of the stops and entertains Ian with the voices of Christopher Walken, Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, and many others' voices. Ian turns and stares at him with wide, fascinated eyes when the sounds are not what he's used to hearing come from his father. Although Ian doesn't know who he's imitating, Mama does and it is hilarious!!! This is a side of Jim that not many get to see. His kid is a fortunate little one :)

And one month from today Jim graduates from medical school! I could not be more proud of him. Four years and a lot of time, energy, and hard work are almost over. As you can see, Ian's pretty proud of him too!! Yay Papa!

Happy 29 weeks, little fellow!!!

We love that spring is here and we can take you outside every day!!
Thanks for getting us outside to enjoy quality time as a family.
We love you, love you.

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