Monday, June 13, 2011
Theo at Eight Months
Today Theo celebrated his eight-month birthday today. We took the usual photos (and more photos) with his giraffe before breakfast, having learned from experience that last thing before bedtime is not always the best time of day for sitting still and smiling. It turns out, before breakfast is also not the best time for smiles either. At eight months, Theo cares a whole lot more about a) breakfast and b) the camera than c) the giraffe. He tossed the poor giraffe aside repeatedly, whereas he normally plays with the ribbon and the antennae quite happily, and refused to settle for anything but the red camera, and could not otherwise be distracted by much.
A few flaps of cloth garnered us a token smile or two for posterity's sake, but those were nothing compared to the gales of laughter we normally get with such nonsense - such delight that Michal and I tend to be in tears from laughing with him. We discover random things at least once a week that Theo finds hilarious, including the word "woo", as seen on video.
In addition to this morning's photos, we served up some scrambled eggs for a birthday breakfast. The eggs made him smile, which is a good sign, but they also made him gag, as he didn't spend enough time chewing the tiny bits. I mixed the remainder in with his pear oatmeal (just what it sounds like - oatmeal with a cube of pear mixed in) and he had no objection to that concoction. All in all, it was probably Theo's most proper breakfast to date. In the past three days, he has also increased his food repertoire to include spaghetti, bread crusts, and toast, mostly in an effort to widen the finger food possibilities. He's mastered picking up o's, although he is still perfecting the release mechanism and timing. Each o no longer gets the brilliant smile of satisfaction and he will stockpile them in his mouth limited only by his attention span, which thankfully is still quite limited. (Look! The dog! The cat! A spoon! With food on it! Ahhhh....)
Theo eats three meals a day, with the biggest usually reserved for dinner, the last meal of the day around 5:30. Lunch happens at 12:30 or beware, and breakfast is a slightly more relaxed 8:30 time frame. Until yesterday, dinner held the record at eight cubes, but he polished off nine cubes at lunch to blow that record out of the water, especially since the last six cubes were fortified with rice cereal. Theo can't stand rice cereal - he still throws it and everything else he's eaten in the last half hour up if you try (and I tried the homemade version too just to be sure), but we've got to get rid of the box somehow. He demolished one cube of chicken, two of sweet potato, and six of nectarines with the added rice cereal to set the new record. As you can probably tell, we're moving on to proteins. He got chicken last week with no complaints from anyone but me. (If you want my opinion, the best dieting strategy is to puree all your food into mush and voila - no appetite.) He's been consuming a little less than a large container of cottage cheese per week since we introduced it a few weeks ago, although he does eat less of it in one sitting now. Yogurt is fully back in favor as we've determined it had nothing to do with the outbreak of eczema, but avocado is definitely still top tier, with yogurt and mango and now possibly nectarine coming in second. He likes oatmeal, and we've taken to adding butter to his foods for a few extra calories. Theo still sports two teeth in the lower middle with no signs of any others impending.
Theo nurses about six to seven times a day for a total of about an hour. His daytime feedings are much less intense as he is easily distracted (see above). His best feedings are right before or during a sleep cycle, and to some extent, I think he's made a connection (unintentional on our part) that nursing means we're about to put him down to sleep. Therefore, he resists during the day, or makes sure to pop on and off to combat any sleepiness that ensues. I have, after three months, stopped pumping after every daytime feeding, and we've stopped supplementing with pumped milk after every feeding. We do still offer some extra milk from the bottle at night, although he generally only takes an ounce or two at most. I pump before bed and most nights it comes out roughly even. At last measure over a week ago, he weighed in at 18 pounds and 2 ounces, so it's definitely not affecting his growth too noticeably.
Theo gets up at 7, which usually means he wakes up between 6:20 and 6:45 and lies in his crib talking or otherwise until we go fetch him at 7. By 7 p.m. he is fairly insistent about starting the nighttime routine, which consists of changing into pajamas, reading two books, getting bundled up for the night (more on this section in a moment), and nursing before being put down. He wakes up almost regularly at 4 a.m. for a feeding, although he can go as late as 5:30 a.m. occasionally. Now that the weather hits 60 degrees some days, and the house heats up from sunshine to over 70, we have managed to wean him to sleeping in a onesie, fleece pajamas, and his thicker "winter" sleep sack. Prior to that, we put him in the long-sleeved onsie, fleece pajamas, folded a blanket in half and wrapped it around his middle under his arms so that there were actually four extra layers on his belly, and velcroed that in place - all before putting him in the fleecy sleep sack. He still woke up with cold hands and ears some nights.
For whatever reason, Theo not only seems to be a side sleeper, but he also appears to prefer sleeping side to side in the crib. By this I mean that he shoves his feet through the bars and squashes his neck at a somewhat awkward angle so that he can fit in the shorter distance between the sides of the crib rather than the much more accommodating length of the crib. No matter which way we place him in the crib, he generally rotates 90 degrees to obtain this desired location by the time he's done resting.
Theo naps two to three times a day, depending on the length and timing of the naps. He is generally ready to pass out by 9:00 a.m. again, and the latest he's managed is 9:40. He sleeps anywhere from 25 minutes (a bad nap) to 1 hour and 20 minutes (a very good nap), but on most days is reliably up again by 10. His next nap can start as early as noon, but is more generally between 1:00 and 1:30, especially since lunch perks him up a bit. If he has a thirty minute nap (usually because we're out and about, so it happens in the sling, stroller, or car), he will generally head back down later in the afternoon for a third and final nap. Otherwise he's good to go for about four to four and half hours until 7:00 or bedtime, whichever he determines comes first.
Theo still loves the animals, with Rocket taking top spot simply because she is less available and attentive. Tetley is usually good for a laugh, too. As for toys, Theo loves things that don't belong to him, like water bottles, cups, spoons, paper, and cards. He has definitely learned object permanence and cries when things are removed before he finished with them. More importantly, it's much harder to distract him unless the new token is as "forbidden" as the removed item. In the actual toy department, Theo still enjoys his 0-ball, his Easter eggs, his bucket, his maraca, and his one giant plastic orange bead. He likes to listen to his jukebox music box.
Theo has a distinct preference for smooth jazz and possibly classical music. We learned this taste in music by trial and error when he fussed in the car with Michal's music playing. Once we changed the stations off the rap and techno, we didn't hear a peep out of him the rest of the trip even though he was still very wide awake.
As for movement, Theo can and will pull on just about anything horizontal. Instead of crawling or rolling to get to things, he has learned to pull on the blanket. Since he's almost always sitting on one (a side benefit of not rolling off), objects on the blanket come to him. He still hates tummy time, but will lean, roll 95% of the way onto his belly, and hover and stretch to get to desirable objects. He stands extremely well, especially if there is anything to lean against or hold onto, so it's only a matter of time before he's truly mobile. He has no concept of self-preservation, and squirms and throws his weight around when you're holding him now in an attempt to acquire whatever has grabbed his attention - the faucet, pots, things in the refrigerator, etc.
Overall, Theo remains an extremely happy easy-going boy with a few distinct eating and musical preferences. He still loves to go out and about and has only a bit of anxiety when we leave his sight at home or worse, when we hand him off to someone else but he can still see us.
Happy eight months Theo!