Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seven Months and Counting!

Here I am again. Writing another HUGE update because I've been procrastinating. I have all these great thoughts to put to “paper” but time is of the essence and essentially, I have none... well, that's not completely true. I have some, but it almost never coincides with proper brain function. So in most cases, writing when I actually have the time is much, much harder than it should be!

So my main reason for returning today is because Levi has recently turned 7 months old. Unbelievable!! I can say with certainty that the last month has brought many changes – mostly for the positive.

Sitting up alone for the first time

He rolled over from his back to his tummy for the first time and the next day was enthusiastically log-rolling across his world! He just began eating solid foods at 6 months of age and he's progressed really well to thick purees already. In fact, because he has a hypoactive gag reflex and a weaker swallow (due to low tone), he seems to do better with the thicker foods vs. the thinner purees. This got me eager to start making my own baby food again. He's still getting a little rashy with the fruits (except avocado) but I think it's probably less than it was at the beginning. He's tried all the standard fruits and even mango and the avocado. We haven't tried green veggies yet – but they're next on the list! His favorite food seems to be carrots. He was quite happy to sit up straight and remove his fingers from his mouth and open wide for a bite!

Chewing on anything he can find - I'm sure teeth aren't too far off!

I've begun signing some basics with him: diaper, mama, dada, eat and more. Of course, I'm not expecting to see anything in return for a while, but I look forward to it anyway...He is starting to blow raspberries to get attention and when he no longer wants to eat/nurse and in response to us blowing them to him. His therapist mentioned that this is a precursor to babbling, so that’s exciting to hear.

Excited to play with mama

He's so into looking at everything going on around him. I'm gonna have a moment of brutal honesty here... I've come so far in becoming comfortable with his diagnosis and how others perceive him, but sometimes I get so frustrated with the darn low-tone issue! He is just so cuddly and loveable and when I look at him examining everything around him with intensity, I know his brains are working just as hard as anyone else's – and then that darn jaw just drops down and his mouth gapes. Suddenly I feel like I have to defend him to anyone who may see him slack-jawed and explain that it has zero relation to intelligence or ability and is singularly related to muscle tone. Sadly – it's likely an issue within my own mind. Or perhaps that's my naivety speaking. Either way, I need to work on that. His oral muscle tone will improve with time and as he begins chewing and becomes old enough to understand therapy instructions to work on it specifically.

Standing for minutes at a time with only the couch at his back!

On to his skills – and this boy has got skills! He can sit without support for a full minute, though he does need to be positioned and entertained. If he thinks too hard about what he's doing, he tends to tip over backwards. Oddly, he's no longer frightened by his sudden change in position, like he used to be – as long as there's a pillow back there to provide a soft landing!

Smiling for the camera so much more often

We're working on pushing up on to straight arms and though he dislikes it immensely, he can do it through a verse of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and The Itsy Bitsy Spider! The hard part is getting him to do it while kneeling too – that always results in immediate crying and looking around for someone to save him. He'll get there – I say this with all fingers and toes crossed. I hope it's sooner rather than later , but it will be in his own time, regardless.

Cuddles from his big sister

The biggest issue we've dealt with in the last month is Levi's nap problem. He's never been a long-napper, but in the last month, his naptimes consistently got shorter until many of them were only 35 minutes long. That is nowhere near long enough to do all the good stuff naps are supposed to do for little ones. I racked my brain searching for answers and suddenly it occurred to me that all the other kids had a transition period where they learned to fall asleep without “mamassistance” by crashing in the cradle swing. That is an item we've not had in our household for this child. As soon as I thought of it, I just had to have one. Hubby deterred me for all of 8 hours, but that was only because Levi was already in bed for the night. First thing the next morning, I headed to the store and found my coveted item! Levi took his first nap in the swing within an hour of arrival and [insert heavenly angel sounds here], he slept for almost an hour and a half!! Yes!! The trend has continued and in one week, he's formed pretty much the same schedule the other kids had at this age. He gets up between 6:00-7:00 am most days and takes an hour long nap around 9:00 and then a 90 minute nap around 12:30 and then a third, 45 minute nap at 4:00. Then it's off to bed for the evening by 7:00.  His temperment is SO much better – he's not extremely cranky every afternoon and for that I'm extremely grateful! I'm hoping that in another 2 months, he'll be taking just two naps consistently for a total of about 3 hours. Sleep consolidation is pure bliss....

Only the second-ever picture of all the kids together!

We are pursuing a sleep study just to make sure that there are no medical issues that would be messing with the quality/quantity of his sleep, but I'm thrilled with the improvements that have already occurred.

Quality time with his brother, Evan

His stats for the month: This big boy is weighing in at 19 pounds (approx 55th percentile). He is 26 7/8 inches long (approx 40th percentile) and his head circumference is 17 inches (same as his brothers' at this age and approx 20th percentile).

I'm so very excited to see what the next month has in store for us. Levi continues to surprise us at every turn!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

I've got a whole giant update to write, but I HAVE to share a picture of Levi since he turned 7 months yesterday - revel in his adorableness; I do!!

rockin the superman curl

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gettin' Older

Well crap... I just realized that I'm getting older. In my head, I'm forever the 21-year-old version of myself, but with a little more maturity in my perspective on life. Occasionally, I'll catch sight of myself in the dreaded mirror. (gasp!) and remember that the phrase, "when I become a grown-up" may no longer apply to my situation. I'm there... I think...

What recently gave me a firm reminder of this was my daughter's seventh birthday. I simply cannot believe that I've been doing this whole parenting thing for seven loooong years. And yet it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye!

Aside from the cats, Katelyn is the only other estrogen in the sea of testosterone in our home... She is my girlie-girl but also manages to fit in just fine with the rough-and-tumble boys. She loves barbie dolls, dress up, singing, crafts, Disney princesses and reading. Her favorite color is purple and can often be seen wearing three or four pieces of clothing in a monochromatic mashup!

Enjoying one of her favorite Christmas presents!

She requested a Hello Kitty party and we ended up celebrating with a pajama/sleepover party. She loved every moment of it and actually thanked me for all the work into putting it all together. I hoped she would enjoy it because effective as of now, we are throwing parties only every other year. On the odd ages, they get a big party - on the even years, a dinner out with a cake and candles. It will save a ton on our budget and works out perfectly - with the four kids, we'll have one party roughly every 6 months. I don't think that plan could've worked out any better!

I look forward to many fun years ahead with this little girl, even as she become less "little" by the day. She's full of sass, which I admire (as long as she's not sassing me!) and she often makes me laugh simply because she's so much like me... but NOT me as a child... no, me now. Yikes! I suspect we'll often be butting heads in the future, but I hope she'll know that her mama will always be there for her, through thick and thin and that she's special to me because she's my girl and the special person who introduced me to being a mama.

Love you, Sunshine!!

No Plain-Jane Poses for This Girl!