Monday, April 13, 2009

Food! Sleep! Physics!

My writing lately has been fairly consumed by dealing with LL's nursing strike (which, by the way, continues. Everything I've read says that nursing strikes typically last 3-4 days, but "occasionally last a week or two." Apparently, nobody bothered to tell that to LL, because we're on Day 26 right now). Also, we had a house full of out-of-town guests for the past week, so I haven't had time to write anything at all. As a result, I've failed to record several other major changes in our lives. And since I use this blog to be my memory, there are a lot of things that I need to get written down.

It's unfortunate that the nursing strike began in earnest on LL's six month birthday, because that is also when he embarked on all sorts of new developments and firsts:

Solid Food! LL loves butternut squash. He's happy with oatmeal and sweet potatoes. He'll tolerate peas and carrots. He'll only eat green beans if fed to him by a grandparent. Other than the carrots, that pretty much aligns with my preferences as well. All in all, he gives Food, as a whole, a big thumbs up. Which is good, because he's mainly getting formula these days, and while he will occasionally gobble down a huge bottle of it and then ask for more, he often prefers to just chew on the nipple of the bottle and fuss. (Silly boy! If you like breast milk so much more than formula, you know what to do....) After forcing the kid to eat vegetables for several weeks, we're going to let him have fruit in a few days, which I expect will be a big hit.

Growth Spurt! In my desperation to find a fixable cause for LL's nursing strike, I brought him back to the doctor, even though he had an appointment less than a month ago. I wanted to rule out thrush or ear infection or any other illness that might have been undetectable a few weeks ago but causing nursing havoc now, just to be absolutely sure before I gave up trying to get him back to the breast. (It's pathetic when you find yourself hoping that your child is sick, so that at least you'll have something to fix.) The diagnosis was ... drum roll ... teething (like I didn't see that coming), and an obnoxious reaction from the not-our-regular-pediatrician who we saw that day. ("Yeah, he's teething. Just give up the nursing already. Six months is long enough." "Um, I wanted to nurse longer than this, and I thought that even the AAP recommends one year?" "Sure, if you can do it. But clearly you can't." Ouch.) LL was still mainly eating pumped breast milk at that point, so the only real change to his diet had been the addition of meager solid foods, which we'd been told often made babies stop gaining weight. My little LL, though, had gained a ton of weight since his last appointment, averaging almost two ounces/day. He has since slowed down his ridiculous gobbling of milk, corresponding with my further drop in milk supply, necessitating more and more reliance on formula, but each day he really does seem remarkably bigger. And he's starting to push the length limits on his car seat, so a new big-boy convertible car seat and non-infant-frame stroller may be looming in our future.

Sleeping! Before six months, I could count on one hand the number of times that LL had slept through the night without needing assistance. (To be precise: I could count it on one finger.) Then, he suddenly did it four days in one week. Oh, the joy of uninterrupted sleep! Of course, then he got sick and was up all night for several nights, and then the grandparents visited, so we're slowly working our way back. But, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sitting! Yes, my lazy little boy has discovered the joys of being upright. After lots and lots of setting him on his cushy cloth diapered bottom and immediately catching him as he toppled over, I put him down one day and he sat for a few short seconds. The next day, it was 30 seconds. The day after that, he could just do it. Just like that. He's still a little unsteady... you can see him making little corrections as he lists one way or another, and eventually he gets tired and just lets himself tip over backwards, but he can sit for a good long time now. And he can reach for toys and play and laugh and talk while he's sitting, so it's lots of fun to set him down and watch him go.

Jumping! We went ahead and got a Fisher Price jumperoo, as suggested. The first two days, LL seemed uncertain, sitting uncomfortably in the seat, batting questioningly at the toys, not moving his legs at all. He laughed when I bounced the seat for him, but he didn't get it at first. Then, like with the sitting, something just ... clicked. And now he's unstoppable. We put him in that thing, and he jumps jumps jumps without rest, wearing a big dopey grin the entire time. He couldn't care less about the toys, but oh the joy of jumping through the air! He also recently discovered that he doesn't need the jumperoo in order to jump -- all that's required is something (ie, me) suspending him upright over a surface. Any time I try to hold him in a standing position, he starts jumping and bouncing like a hyper puppy.

Passover! My parents, S's parents, my uncle, and my grandfather all flew into town for Passover last week. The first seder was just the nine of us. Second seder was our usual grand affair, topping out this year at 26 people. I cooked a few dishes in advance and froze them, but I did the majority of the cooking after all the grandparents arrived on Tuesday, so that LL would have lots of people to play with while I was busy in the kitchen. I even added some new dishes this year. (The pomegranate walnut chicken was particularly well-received.) We had hoped that LL would be awake for both seders, since we were starting at 6:00 and he generally begins his bedtime routine around 7:00, but all of the excitement of four grandparents all in the house at the same time proved to be too much for him. Grandpop held him throughout the first seder, with LL drowsily resting his head on Grandpop's shoulder, sucking on a thumb, eyes mainly closed, until we rushed through the last of the service so that we could get him to bed. On the second night, LL started yawning and rubbing his eyes at 5:45, so we just kept him up long enough to say "hello" to all the guests and pour the first glass of wine. He even slept through several raucous rounds of "Dayenu!" so the poor little guy must have been really worn out. The out-of-town visitors were gone by Sunday morning, and LL spent much of yesterday trying to figure out what happened to his entourage. This week, we try to get him over his grandma hangover and back onto his normal schedule.

Physics! Yes, that's right, my baby boy is figuring out rudimentary physics. The small course corrections needed to maintain an upright posture while sitting are just one example. He has also figured out that if he pulls on the blanket, the toy that is out of reach will move closer to him. If he lets go of the spoon over the edge of the high chair, it will fall to the floor (though he still peers over the edge just to make sure). And I spent an astonishing afternoon watching him figure out how to use a tool: he was lying on his back, staring at a wooden block that was just out of reach. He stretched and stretched for it, but it was just beyond his fingertips. After surveying his surroundings, he picked up a rattle, then turned and whacked at the block. His eyes grew wide as the block bounced a little into the air and landed in a different location. He stared and stared at it some more, then got a big grin on his face as he started hitting the block over and over and over, until it had bounced within reach. He immediately tossed the rattle aside, and triumphantly grabbed the newly accessible block. Problem solved! (Ten seconds later, he discovered that wooden blocks are rather boring when you only have one of them, and he dropped his hard-won prize, but you know, sometimes it's all about the journey.)

Communication! LL has always been an extremely expressive baby. For months now, he has been making liberal use of facial expressions and squeals and screams to indicate what he likes and what he doesn't like. But these last two weeks have brought a new level of communication. When we're holding him, he grabs and lunges for thing that he wants, much more emphatically and purposely than when he's playing with toys. He grimaces and pushes things away with his hands when offered something that he doesn't want (like a bottle, or a washcloth to wipe his face). When he was sitting on the floor with his grandma, and she accidentally let him tip over backwards so that he fell onto a hard toy, we expected him to act hurt and cling to Mommy; we didn't expect him to turn purposefully to Grandma and give her an angry scowl, accompanied by an extra-loud yowl, to let her know that he blamed her for his fall. (Gotta move faster, Grandma, if you want to avoid the wrath of LL! Luckily the guilt trip only lasted five minutes. He places blame where blame is due, but he doesn't hold a grudge.) And while he has enjoyed various games for quite some time, now he's taking a more active role in many of them. Covering up and revealing his own face for peek-a-boo. "Singing" along with Mommy and Daddy. Repeatedly picking out his favorite book from a big stack, then turning reliably to his favorite page. (He enjoys all of Karen Katz's Where is Baby's Belly Button?, but he laughs hysterically at the "Where are Baby's hands? Under the bubbles!" page, every single time.)

It's very cool to see more and more of his personality developing, and also a little scary to see how independent he already is, just shy of seven months old.


  1. Isn't fun watching your baby grow and learn. So amazing!

  2. I love hearing all of LL's new developments. What an amazing Boy.

    I can not say that I am so sorry enough about the breastfeeding. I really am so sorry.

  3. Your son sounds pretty special (and advanced)! About the solid food, my son does not care for fruit preferring veggies. I'd like to take credit, but he hates applesauce the most & I practically ate an apple a day while pregnant. We have to feed him veggies last so he will tolerate rice cereal & fruit... I'll be interested to hear how fruit goes over with LL.

  4. I love reading your updates about LL. He and Harry have a lot in common (and I swear it's not just because they're less than a week apart!) -- I love that they both have figured out how to pull a blanket to get a toy that's too far away and both hit an unexpected growth spurt.

    I really hope LL realizes what he's missing out on by refusing the boob before it's too late, if it's not already. And I hope the sleeping through continues!

  5. Our "nursing strike" started at 10 months and he never went back to the breast. Apparently, LL and Baby S did't read their instruction manuals.

    My aunt had the same thing happen and based on the collective-wisdom, it tends to happen more with boys. Baby S was just too *busy* to nurse and even when he took a bottle, he had to face outward, lest he miss something. I kept trying, but he had absolutely no interest in the breast; when he was done, he was done.

    So, although these are only a few cases, it appears some kids DO wean themselves before 12 months. (So TAKE THAT conventional wisdom, and stop making me feel badly about it.)


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