Mama

Bubba is already getting better with his words even though it’s been a short time. He is catching on to the idea that I want him to call me “Mama” and pulled my heartstrings at bed time. He wasn’t just falling asleep and I was attempting to lay next to his sleeping area, but in the big bed. Unfortunately, he wasn’t actually as close to sleeping as I had thought, so he stood back up and said Mama in a sad voice. It is so adorable and makes me so pleased that he is finally calling my name! I’m also feeling relief that he is starting to use verbal words several months before he reaches the two year milestone. I didn’t want to reach that wellness visit with the pediatrician and hear more about how he is behind. The doctor was not super concerned about his lack of words at his 18 months and had said we would see how he was doing at 2 years. In the back of my mind, I’ve been worried this whole time that he still wouldn’t be talking at all at that point. Three cheers for Bubba talking in plenty of time to pick up a lot of words before he hits 2!

I started my monthly cycle today and despite feeling completely wiped out yesterday, I was contemplating walking to the store this morning. Ultimately I decided against going because it is about a twenty minute walk one way and because I would have to carry Bubba. I’m glad I made that choice. Later in the evening we took the 5 minute walk to the park and I felt wiped out just standing next to the playground equipment supervising him climbing around. Now that I have the opportunity to physically rest during the day versus being in a sitting/standing or moving position as part of a job, sometimes I forget my limitations until I’m stuck in that situation again. At least we had a good time at the park. Bubba is cautious when other children are around or using equipment near hiimagem. For the first bit, the only other children were on the swings so he climbed up on the landing area near the stairs and the slide to enjoy looking around. He seems to still be a bit hesitant to go down slides. He will go down, but not with a sense of exuberance and a rush to do it again. After a while, we did the swings and another little toddler about his same size came to the playground. He was less hesitant than Bubba and greatly enjoyed the slide with his parents. Bubba on the other hand, was not very interested in climbing any of the equipment near this little boy or his parents after we finished on the swings. I tend to feel an urge to push him to interact with the other children or adults in these sort of situations. I’m trying to temper that because I don’t think it is in his best interest to make a big deal out of it, particularly since other people comment on his being “shy” or not smiling immediately at people he doesn’t know. I don’t want him to get a complex about it. On the other hand, since I’m shy and don’t interact well with others right off the bat all the time, I don’t really know the best way to help him feel more comfortable in when it comes up. I guess time will tell how it all plays out. I imagine it will be helpful as he gets more of a vocabulary and can share his thoughts with us.

Tomorrow we are going to a movie in the park to see Despicable Me 2 with friends. It will be our second movie in the park of this year. We’ve been busy but we did get to see Frozen with our niece and nephew before they left to visit their dad for the summer.

We have some friends who are struggling with their marriage and it has been wearing on us as well. We have considered them to be our best friends out of all the married couples we know and it has been heartbreaking to watch them go through this for almost a year now. It is straining our friendship and is on our minds a lot. It is hard to see others with marriages that are falling apart when all we want to do is help. It seems like saying anything just makes things worse because then it looks like we are taking sides which leads miscommunications all around. At this point we’ve mostly stopped saying what we think to either of them, but that ends up feeling like we can’t talk about anything at all. It feels like there is a huge elephant in the room at least to me. I want to say something that helps, but I also don’t want to say anything that makes things worse than they are. So I end up saying nothing. It sucks.

Cheese!

Bubba said “Cheese” for the first time today! The last few days he has been saying “Dada,” mostly when prompted and will do a garbled version of “Mama” when prompted. It sounds more like he is saying Bubba than Mama because he won’t pronounce the mm sound for some reason. It’s actually very odd, because he generally says “mmmmmmm” when he is unhappy or trying to get our attention for something. Since he says Dada now, I’ve been prompting him to say it and then ask/sign for “help” or “more” instead of just signing those things. At lunch he was signing cheese and I asked him to say it. He actually did it right away! He sort of skips over the middle part and just blurs together “ch” and “zzz” but it’s super cute. He will also say “uh-oh” when prompted as well. I wish he was saying things without prompting but I’m feeling very encouraged that he is using vocal words and seeing the impact they have. Oh yes! I have also gotten him to say “bah” when I ask him to say ball, so I think that counts, too.

Last night I got frustrated with him not laying down to sleep and didn’t have the motivation to get him to sleep in our bed. Getting him to sleep in our bed is easy, but then I feel the need to let him sleep for a while before moving him to his bed and I didn’t want to deal with that. Usually he sleeps in the pack n play next to our bed, and I’ve been contemplating making him a floor bed for a while. The second bedroom is not in any shape to be his bedroom at this point and we are happy keeping everyone sleeping in one space. SO I took his pack n play bottom mat piece out and put it down on the floor with a yoga mat. I laid down with him and got him to sleep there and was pleased with it as an initial set up. We are still figuring out a few logistics because I would like for him to be able to access our bed independently and I would like a “gate” to keep the dogs from getting into his area. We have some temporary stuff working in those capacities but they are not ideal.

Our fourth of July camping trip was wonderful. Bubba had some good friends to play with. They were older and I was surprised by how much they wanted to play with him. Hubby and I got a good break because they were loving on him so much. He slept well and did good near the fire so it was a very nice trip. It did rain a bit, but we stayed mostly dry in our tent and under the cover at the picnic table. Here are a couple of pictures from our trip. Enjoy!

 PriusPacked

 FamilyPhotoCamping

20 Months

June 4th marks Bubba’s 20 month day, which means…. four more months until he turns two! The early days absolutely did not fly by but now things seem to be moving along much faster. Good and bad, I suppose. He is starting to have a favorite stuffed animal during the last few weeks. By and large he completely ignored this sheep that has been in the corner of his bed since around late summer or early fall of last year. Recently he showed some interest in it and I gave it to him during a nursing session to keep his little hands busy. We also have explored Sheepy’s features, pointing out his ears and nose along with Bubba’s ears and nose. Now he has Sheepy for pretty much every nap and even had Sheepy his in hands when he woke up early yesterday morning to move from his bed to our bed.

Bubba has also learned a lot of body parts, including nose, mouth, teeth/tongue (still working on the specifics of that), chin, ears, knees, toes, and hands. We are working on cheeks and elbows at the moment. He is willing to follow simple directions to copy things in books like clapping, stretching his arms up, and kissing.

Potty learning is still ongoing. Within the last week or two, Bubba has started signing potty occasionally. The kicker is that it is only AFTER going in his trainer. Still a step forward is a step forward.  He seems to be more willing and able to hold it in when we’re out and about. He holds it longer then than he will at home.

We are planning on going camping at least once in July and possibly again in August by ourselves for the first time since we’ve been
married and for the first time with a toddler. We purchased a 6-person tent and I’ve started making a list of supplies to collect or borrow. We are both pretty excited to camp and also to see how Bubba does with camping. He really enjoys exploring, collecting, digging, and playing with water so I’m pretty sure he is going to have a great time. I’m only really worried about dealing with him and the fire and how well he will sleep. We’ve made arrangements to board our dogs. I wish they were better behaved so we could bring them with us. Unfortunately none of our friends or family is available for dog-sitting next month, so they’re going to be stuck in cages for a few days. After our big July trip, we may try some weekend camping (if sites are available) at some of the local area campgrounds. We are fortunate to have a number of options that are very close by. I am figuring we can see how the dogs do on a trip or two when we have the option of driving back home and dropping them off for the day or night if they’re being too obnoxious or loud. I have fond memories of camping growing up and I would like to share that with Bubba. I’ve also been checking out campground options in between our home and where my parents live. They are about 6 hours away, so it would be nice if we could find a middle ground to meet up at if they’re able to camp with us.

In health news, I’ve been suffering through allergies for about a month. I take Claratin but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t help that much because there have been plenty of days where I am laid out unable to do anything but lay around miserable. I ran out of Claratin at the end of May and decided not to purchase anymore because theoretically I should be almost done with my  spring time allergies. I am planning on going to the doctor next year before allergy season kicks in and see if they can give me something stronger. Several years ago I saw a military doctor and they pretty much shrugged it off saying that there isn’t much they can do when the pollen levels get so high. Since then I’ve been just using over-the-counter Claratin but I’m hoping a different doctor will be more helpful. I also won’t be dealing with pregnancy or nursing so I will have more options. My nose hasn’t been running as much the last week or two but now my itchy eyes have really kicked in. I have to say I’m truly tired of feeling lousy all the time. I feel pretty excited when I feel well enough to do a few simple chores around the house in the morning instead of laying back down after doing breakfast for everyone.

I also have developed a lump behind one of my ears, right where the bottom of my ear lobe connects to my neck this last week. At first I thought it was probably just a pimple, but it got bigger and more painful than any pimple. I finally called and made a dermatology appointment because it was freaking me out and very painful. I have to be tremendously careful about laying on that side when I’m trying to sleep. I checked in with “Dr. Google” and found that it might be a sebaceous cyst. Tea tree oil was one of the suggestions which I happen to have. I’ve been using that the last couple of days and I think today it might be smaller. It still hurts if I move my head to the point where it will pull on the skin but it doesn’t hurt so much in general when I’m not touching it. I can’t wait to see the doctor and hopefully get something to treat it.

Bubba Bullets

-He fell down the stairs for real this week. He has tumbled down one or two a few times but always near the bottom so while I felt bad for him being hurt I wasn’t worried. This time I had walked downstairs to let the dogs out and open the curtains when I heard him start tumbling. My heart dropped but by the time I made it to the stairs he had rolled all the way to the bottom and bumped into his chair sitting near the bottom. He cried and clung to me. Considering how far he fell he seemed to be none the worse for the wear and no bruises have shown up.
-He’s had his glasses for about 2 weeks now. It’s still hit or miss whether he will keep them on. I am constantly wiping the lenses for him since it seems like he will want to wear them less if they are smudged. I’m glad they have a 2 year warranty even though he usually hands them to me when he takes them off. I can see them being left on the floor and getting stepped on or chewed on by the dogs.
-We got a sand and water table from Craigslist for $26. He loves it. With water, without water, whatever. No sand yet. We may just do rocks for now. Hev really enjoys moving water around and watching it drip.
-He sleeps through the night! It’s a miracle considering how long he didn’t. It’s nice to know now that if he is not sleeping something is wrong out of the ordinary.
-Learning to use the potty is still hit or miss. One time I swear he signed potty but he has not repeated it. Sometimes he holds it for 2 plus hours and other times I can’t catch a break keeping him dry.
-His first swim class is tomorrow!
-We are learning body parts. He will show me his nose and belly button, and sometimes his mouth. He finds it fun to shove his finger into my belly button as far as he can.
-He loves going outside and is getting over his hesitancy to leave my side. He is very comfortable wandering the back yard and will independently check out things in the front yard or at the park. On the other hand, he is a good hand holder 98% of the time while we walk. He walked all the way to the grocery store yesterday and pushed our small folding cart over half way which was really cute.
-Getting used to the electric toothbrush is still a work in progress. The funny thing is that he is much more willing to let me brush his teeth now while he plays with it. So sometimes he brushes his own and sometimes we brush with either the regular toothbrush while he plays with the other.
-He climbs easily into our kitchen (folding chairs) and can reach thingson the table. Yesterday he realized if he pushed the chair to the counter he can access more stuff. And then today, he realized his car can help him reach the top of our tv stand!
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18 Months Welless Visit

Yesterday was Bubba’s check up at the pediatrician for turning 18 months. We were pleased he broke the 20 pound mark! I was secretly hoping he would surprise us and be more than 20, but alas he was 20.45 I think. The good news is that he is steadily increasing on the growth chart and keeping along a good curve of his own. He is now is the 6th percentile for weight. He wasn’t even on the growth chart at all for a long long time, so 6 is great. On the other hand, we are still dealing with the issue of his special high calorie formula. After switching insurance companies (not by our choice), we found out that the new insurance doesn’t want to cover any of his formula. If we pay out of pocket, it will be $126 a month that we were not paying before. He basically only drinks the formula, with a tiny bit of water or a few sips of juice here or there. He eats significantly better than he did when we first put him on the formula but to me he still doesn’t seem to be eating very much in general. Since he is still on a slow and steady increase in weight versus a huge upswing, we are hesitant to mess with what is working. The doctor and her staff were working on trying to get the insurance to cover the cost of the formula as a medical necessity yesterday. I haven’t heard any updates on it for today. The other negative thing is that they did a preliminary eye test on him with some special machine they have and determined that he may be farsighted. His doctor recommended that we take him to a pediatric ophthalmologist to be further evaluated. I am pretty down that we have another issue to be concerned with him. Granted, a lot of people have eye problems, and his dad wore glasses for a very long time (until eye surgery as an adult). My mom also had surgery for one of her eyes turning inward when she was two. So while it is relatively common, I am just tired of having one more thing to think about and wonder if it’s going to be something bigger. I really would like to go to a wellness check up and come away feeling great about everything. The good news is that we are now at the point of 6 months between wellness visits which is a big improvement over the amount of appointments for parents of newborns or special needs babies have.

I wrote an 18 month letter to Bubba to let him know how proud we are of him and what he is accomplishing in life at this point. I hope someday when he is older he will appreciate them or when he has kids of his own he will find it interesting to know what he was doing at certain stages. I have to go back and edit it because I forgot a few things! He gives kisses and blows kisses with Daddy quite freely right now. He loves giving Daddy kisses before bedtime and sometimes I get them, too. He is starting to do imaginary play now. He will pick up pretend in between two fingers and hand it to you several times. My mom was doing it back and forth with him several times during their visit about two weeks ago and it was adorable to watch. My other favorite thing that he does now is pulling my hands around him to hold him. He will grab my hands when he sits in my lap and put them around his waist. And not just one hand, but both! He will also doing it if we are laying down to cuddle before sleeping. It just melts my heart to know that he wants to be held and snuggled tight.

ImageWe took Hubby and I took Bubba in for his first haircut this week, too! He did really great, even for the clippers. When Hubby first put him down in the car seat at the barber shop he cried and I thought we were going to be doomed to hearing him cry the whole time. This lady sitting next to me started telling me how her son, now 11 and sitting calmly in the barber’s chair, used to cry and scream for his first several haircuts….. Not very helpful of her. Nevertheless, Bubba made us all happy when he started getting interested in a little VW bug with doors that opened and closed. Once he started playing with the toy the barber was able to snip freely and even pulled out the clippers with no reaction from Bubba. He looks very cute with his hair straight and trimmed across the back. The front is only a little shorter so part looks very similar to me. I spent some time later on that day trying to get a decent picture of the back but I’m not sure if any of them came out well. A lot of pictures of Bubba tend to be blurry. I will have to look and post them later if I find any good ones. Do you have any cute stories about first haircuts?

We had to return one of our Best Bottoms trainers (with the set of three liners) because the stitching was coming apart. I was not pleased to have to give it up since our stash of trainers is limited. They are much easier to use than trying to deal with putting diapers back on him, so I hope to get it replaced as soon as possible. We had three trainers with a total of 9 liners, which on a good day was fine, but on a bad day we needed to use alternate combinations of diapers, prefolds, etc on him. The elastic waist of the trainers makes it easier to just pull up and down (which is the whole point) instead of dealing with the snaps on his diaper covers and hoping things aren’t getting bunched up while putting them on. I’ve extended his time between potty times to 45 minutes which is does well with more often than not. He still isn’t letting us know when he needs to pee and sometimes gives us a hard time about sitting still on the potty. Some of it, I think, is him knowing he doesn’t have to do anything and not wanting to sit there when he could be playing. The pediatrician mentioned that we didn’t even need to think about potty training until at least two during our visit. I said we had already started a bit with him and it was going well. I thought it was a bit odd for the pediatrician to be bringing up potty training out of the blue. Seems completely not medically related (baring special circumstances, of course) to me. I suppose if the parents had concerns it would be natural to discuss it with the doctor, but I just thought it was odd for the doctor to bring it up. Oh well.

Toys and Photos

Pounding Bench ExplorerOne of my favorite photographers is doing a Seven on a Sunday challenge to take more photos of her daily family life. I’ve been slacking a bit in that department after my online photography class last year. When I actually took the class Bubba was sitting and smiling and NOT crawling yet. Now he’s quite mobile and quite curious. That is a bit of a problem when I’m trying to keep my fancy camera safe from his little hands. I’ve decided the only way to rectify the situation is to use my camera more often so he gets more used to it and will simultaneously learn that I don’t want him touching it. I had a good photo opportunity this morning after giving him a new toy from the consignment sale that he had not seen. It kept his attention mostly on the toy instead of on what I was doing and I got some nice shots.  I was pleased to find this toy at the sale as well since I had seen a post recently with a similar toy for a 17 month old in a Montessori home. It was a good Pounding Benchprice at only $3.50. Hopefully it will build strength and eye hand coordination for him. He didn’t quite get the pounding the pegs with the hammer concept himself since nothing really happened when he tried it. He really wanted me to do it or he would push them down with his hands. I guess we’ll see if his play develops over time. I swapped out his downstairs toys while he is napping. I am always excited to see if he has a reaction to “new” things after a swap. In addition to this pounding bench toy, I put out a new Fisher Price Little People boat with his helicopter and school bus he already had. He seems much less interested in playing with his toys than with climbing on me whenever I sit down (literally almost every single time to the point where I can’t do anything at to rest in his presence) or seeing/using/touching whatever we are using as adults. Just this weekend he realized he has enough strength to open the center doors of the entertainment center which house all of our gaming consoles, controllers, and other miscellaneous wires and sensitive materials. Hubby is struggling with having the patience and persistence to teach Bubba to respect boundaries, so we are all working on that. For now he is allowed to open and close the doors. If he gets rough, banging them, or starts touching things inside we take him away from the doors. I have to remind myself that I, as the adult, have more persistence than a toddler. Repeatedly. And remind hubby that he, too, is an adult with the capacity for more persistence than our 18 month old. It is kind of funny because kids can have a remarkable amount of stubbornness when investigating new things when all we want them to do is leave it alone. However, it’s best to persevere because the results of showing him that we mean what we say and we expect respect of our things are well worth it.

Hubby and I met up with friends yesterday at Panera Bread for dinner. We put Bubba in a diaper with a thin prefold because we had low expectations since he has not yet really learned to hold it in. We also have not worked with him on big toilets or using public facilities at all. We were both pleasantly surprised when a trip to the bathroom yielded a dry diaper and a success in using the big toilet! Hubby decided to give it a go since Bubba had not used the diaper. Well, low and behold, Bubba went right away in the toilet and then remained dry until we got home. Today I am doing 40 minute segments, which is up from the 30 we’ve been doing since Friday-ish. So far so good with that time range and I even caught him this morning before he pooped in his trainers.

One of my work friends posted an interesting article on Facebook this morning called Serious Reading Takes A Hit From Online Scanning and Skimming, Researchers Say. I personally haven’t noticed a difference, but I have always taken a great joy in reading real books which is less than common in my experience. My biggest issue with reading and my attention span is that I have a toddler using me as a jungle gym. Have you experienced any issue with this?

Pre-Sale

Today was the pre-sale for a local consignment sale that we are consigning things in. It is our first time consigning things (we’ll see how it pans out before we decide if it’s worth the effort to do it again) and one of the perks is access to the pre-sale the day before the regular sale for the general public. Bubba now has a selection of clothes to wear for the summer and plenty of two piece pajamas sets for our potty training experience. He also has Crocs, in lieu of rain boots which I couldn’t find, a rain coat, and some awesome new toys. I was super excited to find not one, but two, Bruder trucks for good prices. Both of which regularly retails for around $45 to $50 and I got for $8 and $12! He is now the proud owner of the cement mixer and probably for Easter will be getting the logging truck. They’re not exactly for his age range so I have to make sure he’ll be okay with them. I want to be sure he is going to take good care of them or they will be put away for a while. I also scored a Pound a Peg from Melissa and Doug, a collapsible tunnel, two new board books, and a Little People boat with the people – all of which are more age appropriate for him. So, other than a chocolate bunny, I think his Easter basket is going to be all set! This will be his first basket. We weren’t up to doing one last year since it seemed a bit silly to be giving a five month old his own basket for Easter.

My parents came down to visit for the weekend and my mom brought our old potty that she apparently had hidden in the garage since I had mentioned getting a second one for Bubba. It’s a bit grungy from being through three kids and sitting in the garage for twenty plus years, but I wiped it down and set it up next to his current one to see what he thought. This one has a flip lid like a bigger toilet. His current potty is the Baby Bjorn potty chair with no lid. When he is done using it I have him lift the lid and the seat of the big toilet, pick up the bowl of his potty and dump the contents in the toilet (which he enjoys immensely). When he saw the new potty sitting next to his current one, he picked the lid up and took the (empty) bowl from his other potty to pretend he was dumping it from one to the other! It was pretty cute. I’m not sure what he will think of using the new one because the bowl doesn’t lift out the same was the Bjorn does. It has to slide out the back which I imagine will be problematic considering we enlist his help with emptying it into the toilet. We’ll see how it goes.

Well, I’m signing off for now. We have a big day of sight seeing tomorrow while the family is visiting. Yes, despite the rain…. We may be a bit soggy.