Monday, June 28, 2010

Sharing Passies, Making Friends

Niall and I have this little game where I steal his passie and he pulls it out of my mouth and steals it back. But recently, he has been doing the funniest thing... he'll suck on passie for a second, then pull it out and with the most serious face, rub it all over my lips or one of his toys- like he's sharing it- and then he puts it back in his mouth and starts over again. He'll do it 5 or 6 times in a row!

So this is what we used to do...

And now this is what he does with sharing it...

So I guess all this sharing will come in handy because he has a new best friend now. Our friends came over with their one and a half year old, Will, on Friday and they could not stop hugging each other. It got a little rough, when Will would decide he wanted Niall on his lap and started pulling him all over the couch, but Niall didn't seem to mind too much. It was adorable!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sad Little Slumper

I am so glad that I wasn't around to witness what went down in Niall's crib last night. I had gone to 7-11 to get a redbox movie and Matt stayed with Niall. He was supposed to be sleeping but he was having a really hard time for some reason. After about 20 minutes of howling, Matt went in to check on Niall and what he saw almost made me burst into tears.

Niall has been getting better and better at defying the crib. If he's not ready for bed, he'll just sit straight up until he wants to lay down. Then, if he decides he's really not ready, he'll start grabbing onto the rails and pull his head over the side. This is moving a little too fast for my liking- I just moved the mattress down a notch and I think we're going to be at the very lowest setting by the end of the month.

Anyway, when Matt walked in the nursery, Niall had been crying in the sitting position so long, he started to slump over. He was half asleep, still crying, with his head between his legs. Imagine him like this picture, but slumped over asleep and crying...

I can't even take it, it makes me so sad! So, Matt picked him up and turned him on his tummy and he fell right off to sleep. Now, I've been going in every night after 10 minutes to make sure he's not asleep sitting up. He's busted me a couple times when it was quiet and I thought he was for sure asleep, but he was sitting up wide awake just staring at the door as I was sneakily opening it and peeking in. He would be staring right at me, smiling and laughing, like it's play time. Then, I'm in trouble when I try to leave.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Almost Phase

Everyone makes it sound like one day your baby will just hit these developmental milestones out of nowhere, but nobody ever tells you about the "almost phase" and how it long it lasts. I always thought it was either your baby is crawling or not crawling, talking or not talking, walking or not walking. I'm so confused about what to call these little developments that Niall has accomplished lately.

He is definitely saying "dada" and "baba" and more recently "mama", but I'm almost positive he doesn't mean to say them. Does that mean he's said his first word? I don't know, but I think it has to be intentional. I would think he will be looking at the object of interest and direct the word toward it (or him or her). And I'm not just saying that because I don't want his first official word to be dada ;)

I know about cooing and babbling and all, but this is seems a little bit beyond that. The sounds are really defined and sometimes surprise me by how much they sound like words. The other day, it was just me in the kitchen and he said "Hiii daaaad." Well I'm mom, but I'll take it! He's also doing this really funny clicking thing now- I think it's because he's getting used to the teeth...

I can now officially say he is sitting on his own, though. He went through a phase where he was in this half laying, half sitting position. He was kind of holding himself up but he was mostly hunched over, almost completely on the ground. Now he's fully sitting, but he still uses his hands a little to support himself. I'm just having trouble figuring out when to write these things in his little baby calendar. I'm not sure when he's officially doing anything because of all these in between phases.

I know I mentioned that he's also scooting- a term I never knew about until a few weeks ago. He's not quite able to crawl, but you can bet he's going to get where he wants to be. I caught it on video and it looks like something out of a horror movie. It kind of reminds me of "The Ring" for some reason....

So all of this "almost" phase stuff got me thinking... I imagine when he's ready to start walking, he's not just going to up and take 12 steps out of nowhere. He'll probably take 1 step and plop down, I would think. Does that count? It doesn't really matter to me, I just think it's funny the way people envision these milestones. Everything takes a lot of time and that's a good thing for me, because I want to catch it all on camera!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jail Bird

I think Niall's theme song should be "Don't Fence Me In." He definitely does not want to have anything to do with being contained in any way, shape, or form. He recently decided that his favorite bouncy chair (my saving grace) was also constraining and cries whenever I put him in it.

I have to be very strategic now about how to best use my baby toys and distractions. If he is in a happy mood, I can strap him into the high chair with a few toys on the tray (the most efficient "toys" would be the cap to his baby bottle, an empty water bottle, and a TV remote). If he's in a decent mood, I can try the bouncy chair. If he's steering toward a bad mood, the johnny jump up is usually the final attempt at strap in contraptions. Once he's had it, it's off to the floor where he can roam... which means I can't get anything done because I will look away for a second and he'll have the trash can lid petal in his mouth.

But the worst thing you can possibly do to him.... is put him in the crib against his will. He freaks. The mobile is a good distraction, but doesn't always work. It's interesting, though, because some nights, I'll put him in there and he just rolls over and starts playing and scooting around. Other nights, he'll immediately be distracted by the mobile. Most nights, he cries because he doesn't want to miss anything.

But the other night, I noticed he was being particularly quiet after I put him to bed, so I went in to investigate... Sure enough, I caught the little rascal trying to escape. He was reaching his hands through the slats of the crib trying to figure out a way to get out of there. He looked strikingly familiar to a county prisoner- if only he were wearing orange :)


Let me outta here!!

I guess I'm locked up for life...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

This Father's Day weekend was great. We got crabcakes, steamed shrimp and corn on the cob- what could be better? Niall also hit it off with Vice (Pat's scary bulldog), so I'm really happy that they're getting used to each other. I don't worry as much now, where I used to have to stand next to him while they eyed each other down. It was hard to tell if Vice wanted to kiss him or eat him.

Yesterday, it was really adorable, though- at one point, we were holding Niall on Vice's back like a pony ride. Then, Niall would reach his hand up to the screen of the pack and play and Vice would bump his nose up to it. They are going to be best buds- and it can't hurt for a boy to have a scary bulldog on his side ;) Ain't nobody messin' with him!

The only thing that went wrong the whole weekend was that I forgot Niall's baby spoons, so I had to attempt to feed him with a butter knife. I would just kind of put it in really fast and scrape it gently on his lips before he could clamp down on it. A couple of times he did bite it, though, and the sound of metal scraping against his little teeth made my eyes twitch. It was definitely the messiest meal we've had so far...

Aside from being able to maneuver a butter knife as a baby spoon, I was also really proud of myself because I made a slideshow for Matt that actually went off without a hitch! I couldn't believe it. Every time I try to do one of these supposedly easy step by step movie maker things, they never work. Here it is...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Day at School

Today was our first "waterbabies" swim class. I couldn't believe that this pool was just 5 minutes away from my house and I never knew about it. It was really more like a water park- there were at least 10 slides. I'm talking the enclosed twirly swirly slides that wrap around 2 or 3 times. Then, there were regular slides, open twirly slides, obstacle courses with logs and alligators, and big mushroom poles that you can get shade under. It was a serious pool for being public.

Niall did so great. I think the other babies hadn't really been in the water before because most of them were freaking out. Niall is the youngest by far, which surprised me that a lot of these year and half old babies were afraid to kick around with their parents holding them. So I think that our little trips to the beach and the bay really helped to ease him into it.

We did things like throw floaty toys into the water and let them try to kick and splash to get to it (while they were in our arms, of course), we would sit them up on the ledge of the pool and let them fall into our arms, bounce from one thy to the other in the water, and sing "ring around the rosey" and let them dunk up to their chin when we sang, "We all fall down!" The part that Niall had the hardest time with was laying on his back. He really wanted to be looking down at the water- I think he likes to be in control.

Speaking of that, he absolutely will not let me change his diaper anymore. He puts all of his energy- and there's a lot of it- into flipping onto his tummy every time I put him down to change him. Believe it or not, I honestly can't contain him- he is just way too strong. The only thing that remotely helps is if I put him in a headlock and try to change the diaper with one hand. He is just so strong!

Anyway, the instructor is the nicest guy, but Niall seems to be petrified of him. Every time Niall was swimming with me, he was fine. Then, Marcus would take him for a demonstration and Niall would start crying and reaching for me. I am praying that he is not afraid of black people. My friend suggested that I get him a black baby doll so he gets used to the notion. It's not a bad idea.

So next week is blowing bubbles and I'm really nervous about him guzzling a boat load of water. I tried dunking him already the last time I was at the bay and it was definitely not a success. I guess the sooner and more often we do it, the less afraid he will be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Too Big For My Britches

Poor Niall seems to be a little too eager to be a big boy lately. We already had to lower the mattress in the crib when we noticed he was pulling himself up on the sides of the railing. I'm guessing he would have figured out how to thrust himself over the side some time this week. I don't even want to think about that. Then, today he had a series of stumbles and disappointments.

First, we went to the park and silly mommy forgot the towel that we use for him to sit on the equipment. Without that towel, the swing, slide, etc are steaming hot. It honestly hurts my hand to touch the stuff, so it's not just me being overprotective. So he was jerking his head all over to see what the big kids were doing. We watched them play cops and robbers and it looked like he was going to break out of my arms and learn how to run right there on the spot. He wanted to play with them so badly! It was really cute. He was following their every move with a total look of desperation (like so...).

Then, we got home and he was getting a little too wild in the johnny jump up and slammed his head into the wall. This is the worst bump he's ever had in his 7 months on this earth. I feel terrible that I didn't catch him in time. I always wondered how he didn't bump into the wall, but he just didn't... until today. He had a big white bump that turned red shortly after.

Then, he was crawling all over Matt's leg with half his body on one side of Matt's thy and the rest on the other side. Well, he got a little over ambitious and threw himself over Matt's leg face first and dove into the hardwood floor. At this point, I should have just put him in the pack and play, where he'd be relatively safe. But just as I was getting ready to do that, I scratched him in the cheek! This was definitely a rough day for the little guy :(

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ocean City

My dad and stepmom have a time share in Ocean City, so we were lucky enough to bring Niall down for a long weekend. I know it sounds like my life is a total vacation, but I swear all of these opportunities have just been a coincidence. Niall has had more beach time since he's been born than I've had in my entire adult life. Hey, I'll take it however I can get it.

We lucked out with weather and we hit the pool, beach, and Coastal Highway for long walks every single day. I could tell that Niall was really enjoying the freedom- especially now that we're back and there isn't even room to crawl on the family room floor. While we were there, we would sit on the porch and feel the breeze, he would look out at the ocean, and he would scoot around the common room. Yes, he is finally scooting! I think he's very close to crawling.

It didn't officially happen until the day before we left. It would start with him rocking back and forth on all fours to pulling himself in 360s on his tummy, and then we would dangle a water bottle in front of him and that was the ticket. Out of all the overpriced baby toys he has, a simple empty water bottle takes the cake as his favorite. We discovered that on this trip. The few rare times he would cry, all we had to do was hand him a water bottle. Well, once he saw one a few feet out of reach, he figured out how to scoot up to it in a jif.

He also made all sorts of fun sounds- he's definitely doing a lot of the "da da da!" and at one point, I was pretty sure he moaned "Mommmmm, whyyyyyyy?" It's so funny because he just keeps getting louder and louder. He'll just belt it out from nowhere, demanding everyone's attention. It's hard to think that we won't have any more scheduled trips to the beach this summer, but I'm sure we'll find a way. Plus, I have my stepsister's wedding in San Diego later in August. Keep it comin!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Growing and Changing

I can't get over how many new things are going on with Niall. It's like each day has so many surprises in store, I just can't keep up with it all. His faces, his noises, his expressions, his movements- they're filled with so much personality and so much energy. As soon as I get used to one thing, he stops doing it and gets into something else that completely cracks me up.

The only sad thing is that I can't catch all of it. I'll notice him doing something really cute and funny and when I get the camera out, he has stopped and never does it again. It's onto something different the next day. I wish I could have gotten it all on camera! This phase of his life is by far the most exciting and rewarding. Watching him imitate us and smile at us and noticing when we walk in the room- the way his eyes light up- it's completely amazing.

So let me think about how to explain these new expressions that he's been doing... first, the screaming. This may come as a shock, but I absolutely love his screaming. It's not a frustrated or whiny scream; it's a genuine exploration of his voice box. He just lets out these little shrieks and then realizes that he can move his voice up and down and get louder, so he starts making all these hilarious noises. I will just die if I can't catch this on video eventually.

Next is the semi crawl. He curls his legs up underneath his butt and props himself up in the air. Then he rocks back and forth and dives onto his stomach. Not quite a crawl, but definitely purposeful movement. I feel like he's so close- he just can't put the pieces together. He can spin himself in a 360, he can push himself slightly backwards, he can dive forward, but he can't move his knees and pull himself into a full blown crawl.

Last is the flat smile. Now this one I caught on camera. This smile is just so funny, the photos really don't do it any justice. He basically bites his lip and then smiles but the corners of his mouth stay flat. Then he puckers and pops them, making this kind of kissing noise. Like a smooch. Then, he does it over and over again all day long.... which is the only reason we were able to get these pictures-- he just wouldn't stop doing it! And now he doesn't really do it anymore :(

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mini Vaca at the Bay

I can't believe it's been over a week since I've updated this blog. I feel like so much has happened. We took an unexpected vacation down at the bay house in Southern Maryland (where Matt and I got married). My dad and stepmom came down on their way to the beach last weekend, but then I wasn't ready to go home, so I stayed :)

It was like heaven for Niall. We went in the pool 4 days in a row. Even the first day (May 29), when it was actually really cold, he still loved it. He would kind of gasp as I eased him in, but then he would get a huge smile on his face as we bobbed up and down to get used to it. He was even kicking at one point- I don't think he knew that it was helping him to swim, but still. He also surprised me with a little present in the swim diaper on the last day- swim diapers pull up like underwear; they don't open on the sides like a diaper. So you can imagine how messy it got with him squirming around on his back and me trying to pull the diaper down gently. Needless to say, there way poop flying everywhere.

We also installed a baby swing on one of the branches of this huge tree overlooking the water. I wished that I could get in it. It looked so relaxing. He absolutely loved it. The dogs would just play next to him while he swung back and forth. It's such a great place to take Niall, so we're really lucky we can pretty much go whenever we want. It's only an hour and 20 minutes away.

I was a little nervous about letting Niall get too close to Vice, Pat's 100 pound bulldog. He can get pretty excited and even though I know he doesn't want to hurt Niall, it's still a little alarming to see him try to jump up on him. But they actually did great together. Vice was learning to calm down around Niall and Niall was smiling and laughing at everything Vice did- especially the barking. Niall thought that was hysterical.

I know, a little frightening to see such a massive dog in front of such a tiny baby- keeps you on your toes ;)

It was really a great little getaway, but now it feels like there's so much catch up-- even though I did work on my laptop while I was there. Oh well, it was worth it.