Friday, February 05, 2016

12 months with Silas...

"He falls asleep and I feel I could die of love when I watch him, and I think to myself that he is what angels look like. Then I doze off, too, and it's like heaven, but sometimes only 20 minutes later he wakes up and begins to make his gritchy rodent noises, scanning the room wildly. I look blearily over at him in the bassinet, and think, with great hostility, Oh God, he's raising his loathsome reptilian head again."
-Anne Lamott


Wow! What a year! As I've said before, it seems like such a long time, and yet it just flew by.


What's Silas up to?
Silas is learning that he has a lot of independence at dinner time. His list of favorite foods has changed several times this month... one night he loves grapes, the next night he throws them all on the ground. Repeat with sweet potatoes, pears, chicken, etc. Some nights he refuses to eat unless spoon fed, some nights he won't let a spoon grace his lips. And sometimes he begs for a baby carrot off of our plate until we give it to him to gnaw on. It's enough to make this mama crazy!

No door or drawer is safe from Silas these days, and neither is the stuff inside... although occasionally he seems to follow the commands "leave it alone" and "put it back." After finding the DVD remote in the recycling can, we took action to move the trash cans to the other side of the baby gate at the dining room door... we'll see how long it takes for Silas to learn to go around.

It took Silas a day and a half to figure out how a straw works, although he still hasn't figured out that you don't have to tip the cup. Now he can also stack rings back on a spindle and will spend a long time trying to put the cap or lid back on a container. The best is... when he finds a sock on the floor, he stops and tries to wrap it around his foot even if he already has a sock or shoe on.

He started taking a few unassisted steps around the middle of the month, almost as if he didn't even know he had let go. As soon as he realized he was on his own, he would plop down on his knees. However, he surprised us on his birthday by walking the length of the living room (several times!)

Silas has been sick a couple of times this month: once with a scary bout of croup that ended up with an ER visit and a quick hospital stay, and then just recently another ear infection. Also, did you know that shedding fingernails/toenails can be a lingering symptom of a bad case of hand, foot, and mouth? Or so I learned from Dr. Google after Silas lost a thumbnail, a big hunk of a fingernail, and is about to lose a toenail. Luckily though, it seems to be only a temporary issue.

From mama's perspective...
I'm the mama to a one-year-old... how is that possible? All of a sudden Silas seems so big, his legs dangling from my lap as he nurses. More mobile every day, with plenty to say, if only we could understand. With independence comes tantrums, and this feels like whole new territory. While I know we've only just begun down this road, I find myself running to parenting blogs and books, and debating which philosophies and scripts I think will work best for us.

This month we put our deposit in at one of the Montessori nursery schools, in hopes of Silas starting in March. He has to be walking and drinking from a cup. We've been holding our breath on the walking part, but it seems that he is going to make the deadline.

Our freezer stash of milk is on its last days, so just days before Silas's birthday, we began to introduce whole milk into his daily bottles for school. I have fretted about the best way to make this transition, knowing all along that Silas would probably adapt just fine. I am hoping that he'll still want to nurse when I am with him, but I will trust his lead.

We woke Silas up with a crib full of balloons on his birthday, with hopes of creating a new family tradition. I've also been planning a "big" bash for Silas's birthday... both Rob's and my families are planning to be in town to celebrate the weekend afterwards. All of my brainspace has been devoted to party planning lately. After that is over, I know I'll be itching for a new project...


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

11 months with Silas...

"But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child. That thing that says "I am," and forms the core of personality."
― Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber 


During the first weekend of the month, a rash started to develop on Silas's face. We racked our brains trying to think if he had eaten anything new that might have caused an allergic reaction. Then the next day he started running a fever. By Monday the rash had developed into swollen blisters and covered his cheeks, thumbs, one arm, and bottom, and it was obvious he felt awful.

His pediatrician said he was a very sick boy and that they would have admitted him to the hospital if they didn't know us (making me glad we hadn't gone in to urgent care over the weekend). After taking blood from both arms (it took two nurses, mom, and dad to hold him still), we went home with three potential diagnoses and four prescriptions to treat them all. We had to check in with the doctor every day, and Silas was out of school all week. By Thursday the rash started to fade, but even now (four weeks later) he still has remnants of the rash. (Turns out that his whole class was out sick Wednesday through Friday, and most with hand, foot, and mouth disease... so we're guessing that he had a really bad case of it.)

Luckily the month ended on a much better note with our trip to Shreveport to celebrate Christmas with my family. Silas got lots of love from his Lovey and Papaw, as well as tried to take away all of the toys from his cousin Luke. It was a long drive and Silas slept horribly while we were there, but it was so worth it for all of us.

We aren't big New Year's Eve people, but we rung in the New Year at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Greenville (Silas ate a whole chicken soft taco, plus some) and then were in bed by 10:30 pm. This boy is headed full steam ahead to the one-year mark, and I'm so proud to be holding his hands all the way there!

What's Silas up to?
Silas is getting a reputation of being "Mr. Personality" at school. He often needs someone to pat his back to help him calm down at nap time, and sometimes won't nap unless a certain teacher is in the room. One day all of the babies were moved to a different room for the afternoon, and he refused to nap until he was brought back to "his" crib in "his" classroom. Stubborn boy... like his daddy.

After fighting his medicines for the first couple of doses, Silas decided to open his mouth and suck the medicine from the syringes. I can't tell you how much easier this made the week. I really dreaded having to wrestle him to the ground three times a day for ten days.

As Silas started to feel better after the onset of his rash, we really enjoyed our time together in house arrest. He would play by himself in the living room for a good part of the afternoons, but take little breaks to come over for a hug and kiss. He is also starting to "dance," aka rock back and forth, when music is played. And, one of his favorite songs comes from his Fisher-Price nativity set. He will also pick out the baby Jesus figurine and give him kisses when prompted. We would repeat, "Give Baby Jesus a kiss" over and over again because it was so cute.

Silas loved pushing the walker toy that Lovey has. His balance seemed to get much better in the week we were there. He is now babbling like crazy; it kind of sounds like "baba" and "mama," but it doesn't really seem to have a meaning yet. After months of modeling the sign for "more," it seemed to really click this past week. It looks a lot like clapping, but it is very clear that he is using it deliberately. He is also starting to give me big open-mouthed kisses on the mouth.

Silas loves trash cans, and especially the two white containers we use to collect recycling. He will leap over tall buildings (or at least the barricade Daddy made with kitchen chairs) to get to them. He also loves paper. He carried around one of my mom's catalogs all day long, tearing out pages and wadding them up as he went. We have to be careful though, or it quickly ends up in his mouth. I find myself saying, "we don't eat more paper" more often than you imagine. (I was only able to get him to lay still for this month's photos by letting him "pretend" to eat toilet paper.)

Three more teeth popped through this month... the one just to the right of his front teeth first, and then the one to the left of his front teeth, and then finally the front right tooth. And, it seems like he's about to get the other front tooth at any time.

Silas traveled so well on the way to Shreveport. He slept most of the way, so we just kept on driving until he woke up from his naps. He spent the first half of the trip trying to figure out how to get Cheerios out of his no-spill snack cup, and the second half of the trip eating them one by one. Cheerios were all over the back seat and stuck in all crevices of his car seat. If he is the least bit tired, Silas hates being buckled in the car seat... he locks his knees and refuses to sit down. Which means it takes us even longer to get out the door and on the road.

From mama's perspective...
I began the month fearing that our breastfeeding days were coming to an end earlier than I hoped. My pumping supply tanked, even though Silas still seemed to be getting milk when he nursed. After a call to the lactation consultant at the hospital, I upped my vitamins and herbs (Calcium/Magnesium and Fenugreek seed) to combat the hormone changes from the return of my menstrual flow... TMI?? Sorry. The week at home sick may have been our saving grace though because we were able to save our freezer stash of milk for January.

Silas is becoming very deliberate with his toys... carefully moving them from one surface to another or taking them in and out of a box. While a month or so ago, Rob and I would wonder aloud about what was he was thinking; now as he plays, it is often very clear what is going through his head.

We were so eager to take Silas to see the Christmas lights at Roper Mountain. We were just sure that he would be amazed by all of the colored lights. However, he was much more entertained by the phone screen. Maybe next year?

This month provided lots of opportunities to be present for my family. With a week home sick (all three of us at one point) and two weeks of Christmas vacation, it was a lot of together time with Rob and Silas. And, given that blessing, I appreciate both of them all the more. Silas is at such a fun age, with his little personality shining through. As his first birthday approaches, I am amazed at how much each of us has grown and changed this year.

A few of Silas's favorite Christmas gifts...
Silas was certainly a very lucky little boy on Christmas morning. In addition to a couple of small Santa gifts, he had many gifts to open from his grandparents, aunts, and friends. Below are a few of his favorites so far. Although he also received several fun gifts that he will come to love in the months to come.


  1. Hape Mini Van : Great wooden "car" that Silas has learned to roll across the floor. With the window holes, there are lots of ways for his little hands to get a grip on it.
  2. Match Stacks Little Hipster : This maybe Silas and Mama's favorite Christmas present this year. I love that the wooden discs were made in the USA and of sustainable products. Silas loves to pour them out and carefully put each disc back in the tube. He can sit and focus on this for ten to fifteen minutes... which I'm learning is really, really long in baby/toddler time.
  3. Oops Imagine! Wooden Forest Puzzle : Magnets in each of the pieces keep these blocks standing upright. Silas doesn't yet know how to put it back together, but he sure likes knocking it down.
  4. Old MacDonald had a Farm Finger Puppet Book : Silas loves a finger puppet book. He likes to watch the puppet "dance" on each page, and sometimes leans in for a kiss. Although this is only one verse of the classic "Old McDonald" song, Silas really won't sit still for much longer yet.
  5. Lillaboo Toy Vehicles : These cars roll well across the carpet and hardwood. And the interchangeable pieces keep things interesting for mom and dad, too.
  6. Countablock : Not your average learn-to-count book. Such fun for kids and parents alike. The illustrations on the die-cut pages are gorgeous. And, there's just enough humor to keep you counting all the way to 100 (Granted, after 20, every 10 numbers are presented on just two spreads.)
  7. Litter Critter Plush Doll : Little Critter was Rob's absolute favorite as a kid, and he is eager to share the classic stories with Silas. Right now Little Critter is getting lots of open mouth kisses over his whole face.   

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

10 months with Silas...

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
― Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

10 months old... better late than never...


My mom/Silas's Lovey came to visit for a long weekend early in the month. She was able to have some one-on-one time with him while I went to work, and then I rushed home to spend the afternoons with both of them.

A few weeks later, after being home sick with RSV for a few days, he went back to daycare for one day before we headed out of town for Thanksgiving. We traveled across the state to Rob's parents house for the holiday. It was a pretty low-key trip with a big feast, a couple of walks around the lake, several sleepless nights, and lots of hanging out at the house.

What Silas is up to?
Silas started pulling up on everything... especially the living room windowsill and the corners of the side tables. And, by the end of the month, he was been cruising, taking a few steps while holding onto the couch, and even climbed the flight of stairs to the second floor by himself (with Mama close behind, of course).

Silas loves to play with cardboard boxes and empty bottles as much as any toy. He has become quite the wiggle worm during diaper changes. Sometimes though you can trick him to lay flat by handing him two toys to bang together. Banging things together is still a favorite pastime: often it's the family photo cards that I printed and laminated for him. And, sometimes he will even give the photos open mouth "kisses."

To show his love for us, he leans in to Mama's shoulder to give her kisses, yet he head-butts Daddy... which we both love respectively. When he gets upset, Silas puts his forehead on the ground as he wails, even if that means folding in half from a seated position.

Silas has learned to wave this month. He spends his whole breakfast waving to me across the kitchen, although he rarely waves on cue yet. However, he is awfully clingy in the evenings after work... I can't easily hold him as I cook dinner because he tries to grab the knife or knock over the eggs. So instead I prop him up on the bar stool or scoot his high chair over to the kitchen, so he can watch me work.

Although still a big eater, he's getting much more picky about what he eats. Often picking around his tray to choose only his favorites (sweet potatoes and corn). He also loves when we go to Jason's Deli because Daddy lets him eat off of his salad bar plate (mango quinoa, black bean salsa, feta).

Things got a little snotty just before Thanksgiving. After a long weekend of fever and snot out the wazoo, we took him in to the pediatrician. He tested positive for RSV; the doctor said that he seemed to be "handling it well," but the symptoms could last for weeks, "into the new year." Oh yay :(

Silas earned his first battle wound after taking on a fight with Grandma's coffee table. As he tried to pull up to standing on the metal and glass table, he lost his balance and bled from his forehead and nose. The first of many, I'm sure.

From mama's perspective...
I feel like we've hit a really good rhythm this month. Things feel good. I'm trying really hard to notice all the little milestones that Silas is hitting. It seems like he learns new tricks every day. On one hand, I know that many of these habits are fleeting, so I'm trying to capture them all with words and photos. But I'm also trying hard not to live with a camera in my hand and to remind myself that the memory captured is only as good as the memory made.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nine months with Silas...

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

-Robert Munsch

It seems we have finally found our rhythm this month. We are living into our daily and weekly routines, and they feel good. We're definitely on the move, trying to stay one step ahead of our now very mobile baby.


What's Silas up to?
Silas is learning new things everyday. This month he learned to clap, pull himself to sitting, crawl on his hands and knees, and pull himself up to standing. After watching him on the monitor one night as he pulled himself up to his knees and peered over the edge, Daddy ran in there to get him and vowed not to let him sleep in there until we lowered the mattress the next day.

Silas' teachers say that he "found his voice" this month. They commented about how uncharacteristically loud he has become... and stubborn, apparently one morning he refused to drink his first bottle because his regular teacher was absent. Sometimes at the dinner table, he will scream with his whole body like a crazy baby, and then stick his thumb in his mouth and look all innocent... it makes us laugh so hard.

We've started trying to introduce some baby sign language: "more," "all done," "mama," and "daddy." Occasionally it looks like he's signing "more," but maybe he's just clapping?!? However, we can hold a whole conversation back and forth with him, each phrase sounding like the short "a" vowel sound. Doesn't make much sense, but it entertains us both!

This boy can eat... he often uses his thumb to push more and more food into the roof of his mouth, until we have to give him a sip of water to clear it out. I'm packing his lunch and snacks on school days to avoid the processed food that daycare offers. Everyday I send a "serving" of protein (usually chicken), two vegetables (either frozen or fresh), a fruit (always fresh), and sometimes a bit of cheese. In addition, he's still taking three 5 oz bottles of expressed breast milk during the day, and nursing three additional times in the morning and night. For dinner we usually try to feed him from our plates, although occasionally we offer him an additional veggie to supplement. He shovels the food into his mouth faster than we can even get it on his plate. We're also practicing using an open cup, and although he still spills a lot, we can see progress.

And miraculously, once we started consistently feeding him real meals, he started sleeping through the night again. Which makes all the difference in the world for Mama and Daddy.

From Mama's perspective...
Although things seem to be going pretty smoothly this month (nursing and pumping is still going well... maybe the best yet, we're sleeping through the night, etc.), I'm not getting much productive accomplished. By the time we get home in the evenings, Silas is very clingy and only wants to me to hold him. Which means cooking dinner is a challenge, much less cleaning the house, folding the laundry, and working on hobby projects. So instead we read board books, roll the ball back and forth, or sing silly songs. Sometimes I carefully prop him up on the bar stool at the kitchen island so he can watch me cook, and honestly sometimes he sits on the floor of the kitchen and wails as I chop something really quickly or adjust something in the hot oven.

One particularly memorable moment from this month... my milk wasn't letting down quickly at bedtime, frustrating both Silas and me. As tears rolled down my face, I started singing our bedtime song, "I Love You So Much." Silas calmed down, looked me in the eyes, and latched on, and then the milk began to flow. This song has become so special to us... as I begin signing the tune, I can feel Silas just relax in my arms.

A few of Silas' favorites...
There aren't many "new" favorite toys or gear this month... Silas is still rocking out with his guitar, throwing his ball around, and jumping like a maniac in the jumperoo.

Overall the favorites this month were the adventures that we went on...
  • Picking pumpkins at Berry Patch Farms

  • Visiting with family friends (my first grade teacher and our flowergirls!) in Peachtree City

  • Meeting my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Atlanta
 
  • Playing with new friends at the park

  • Cheering on Daddy after his 245-mile Beach Ride

  • Putting his feet in the ocean for the first time

  • Trick-or-treating with his cousins


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Eight months with Silas...

“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.”
-Vincent van Gogh

As mentioned in the last post, we started the month with pink eye and ear infections. Sickness seemed to hover over our heads for a couple of weeks. But the highlight of the month was our family vacation to Richmond, VA for the World Cycling Championship races. We urban-hiked/rode in the stroller over 40 miles as we cheered on the cyclists for three straight days. Silas was a great little tagalong for the whole adventure (minus the one night in the hotel when he uncharacteristically screamed for an hour at bedtime).


What's Silas up to?
Oh my, Silas is really mobile now! No longer can we leave him somewhere and expect him to stay put. He's even learned to flop onto his belly from sitting... it's not pretty and maybe a little bit dangerous as he dives headfirst into the floor, but it's effective.

He is fast with his army crawl. Usually he grunts with every scoot forward so you can hear him coming, but sometimes I look up and he is halfway across the house. His little rocking chair sits in between the living area and the kitchen, and while it's never directly in his path, he always chooses to go under it, rather than around it. Unfortunately he's ruining onesies as he mops up the floor with every scoot.

He has also started dropping things to watch them fall. This is both amazing to watch the wheels turn in his head and maddening to keep picking up the same toy over and over again or to watch all of his food land on the floor rather than his mouth.

Silas is a good little eater. We usually feed him bits of our dinner; he picks out the pieces of meat to eat first. I let the daycare start feeding him breakfast and lunch, until one evening when he projectile vomited it all back up (in the car on the way to Richmond!). Rob and I feel really uncomfortable with how processed the daycare food options are (beef-a-roni and strawberry Pop Tarts, for example), so I've decided to pack fresh fruits and veggies for him for the time being.

Silas is certainly a Mama's boy these days. Daddy is okay, but only if he isn't reminded that Mama isn't around. Luckily he seems to be okay at daycare drop-off, but he has cried through his stays in the church nursery the last couple of weeks, and they even paged me to come get him one morning (so fun to teach Sunday School while simultaneously trying to calm a baby). Although one day when he was hanging out with me at work while he was sick, we discovered that he can be comforted by someone else with long hair (he must associate the long hair with me).

A week after the ear infections cleared up, I got called to come pick Silas up from daycare because he had a fever again. The pediatrician couldn't find a reason for the fever; however a few days later, two bottom teeth popped through on the same day. Poor baby! No wonder he's been so grumpy.

While at the doctor's office, she did diagnose both of us with thrush (Silas had a rash in his diaper area and white patches in his mouth; I had the bright pink and bleeding nipples.) Luckily we may have caught it early, and after ten days of antifungal meds, we seemed to be symptom-free. (Funny sidenote: I had to wrestle Silas down to give him the oral medicine in each cheek for the first week. But on days 8-10, he just opened his mouth and took it like it was candy.)

Even more firsts this month... first music class at church, first time sitting in the grocery cart, first Georgia Tech game on TV, first clapping, first trip to the pumpkin patch, first solid poop!


From Mama's perspective...
Although I'm trying hard to stay present this year as a part of my "one little word" inspiration, it was all I could do not to wish away the weeks when we were under the weather. And, yet, Silas was still learning and growing and doing all of the cute things that I want to remember forever, so I tried to live in the moment as much as I could.

The daycare food situation brought on all of the anxiety this month. I'm really uncomfortable that Silas' environment during the day is so different than what it would be with me at home. I've been trying to decide if it's just a control issue (isn't parenting just a giant exercise in letting go of control?) or if there's something to genuinely be concerned about. It makes me second guess all of my "motherly intuitions" and makes me feel very unsure and haphazard about the parenting philosophies we ascribe to (I even feel unqualified to use the word "philosophy" to describe the decisions we've made). I'm determined to check out a few different childcare options next month, but I'm afraid that it will all just be more of the same.

This month I've been trying to put together/wrap up a big project for church. It feels a bit thrown together at the moment, as the direction of the project was decided much later than I would have liked. My time for creative endeavors is so much more difficult to plan these days (I can't just drop everything to chase a creative idea, nor can I schedule aha moments to emerge during naptime), and without a generous lead time, I feel really stressed. Luckily I think I will get it done in time and hopefully it will look polished to the outside eye, but this is not how I like to work.


A few of his favorites...


  1. MULA Shape Sorter :: Silas will scoot across the room fast when this toy catches his eye. He loves banging the plastic pieces together and on the wooden box. We are no where close to matching shapes, but there are two pieces of each color and each shape, which in the years ahead will provide many potential games/learning activities.
  2. Mini Acorn moccasins :: These adorable moccasins were one of the first purchases I made when I found out that I was pregnant last summer. I'm so tickled that now there are baby feet to fill them. We've only recently begun to wear shoes (and then, only every now and then), but he will keep them on for pretty much the whole day. 
  3. Haba Allegro Stacking Ball :: Silas likes to play "catch" with us. We're not sure if he "gets" the game yet, but when we toss this ball into his lap, he will bat it away, sometimes back towards us. Just like his other favorite (Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack), the rings of this ball come apart leaving a center core. And, even better about this toy are the fabric tag that he likes to grab hold of and the crinkly sound that the end piece makes.
  4. Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze :: I had heard mixed reviews about bead mazes and whether kids actually played with them. However, when I found this one at the thrift store for $2, I went ahead and bought it. This model is just the right size for Silas at this age; he can hold onto the metal wires and spin the beads around. He doesn't quite get the idea that beads move from one side to the other, but he will push the beads down, if I get them started for him.
  5. Just One You Made by Carter's Boys' 6pk Month Socks :: Totally an impulse buy at Target. But the boy was in need of socks. These make for the cutest photo ops.


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