It has been a whirlwind of activity since December and much has changed over the last few months with us and Leo. With all the goodies we brought back from celebrating Yule, we transformed our living area into a play area complete with colourful foam mats, toy bins, a toddler craft table, and shelves of children’s books. Play dates are going to get much more interesting for the kiddies now that it’s like a daycare in my house! We only leave a small bin of toys for Leo out at any given time, rotating on a weekly basis to provide novelty since he gets bored with toys rather quickly. Luckily for us we were given a bunch as gifts so we’re set on that score for another month or so. Already some of the more ‘baby’ toys don’t interest him anymore and we have to move on to more stimulating objects.
Right now his favourites are stackables, blocks, balls, and hard cover books. He understands the concept of sliding the ring onto the post with his stackable toy because he attempts this over and over again but with a 50% chance of success. He sometimes forgets to let go of the ring once it’s onto it so he slides it back off again. We have three different kinds of stackables, the first being the plain plastic ring one which he uses right now, a more difficult one that is a cone shape structure that links together by different shape indentations that need to align properly, and a wooden stackable whose holes are tiny and so need more precise stacking. I’ve tried all of them with Leo to see what he would do but he gets frustrated with the last two because his motor skills aren’t practiced enough to link them as he wants so he gets really upset. It’s important to provide toys that stimulate but are still at the child’s developmental level so that their frustration doesn’t override their desire to learn and play. Right now the first toy provides the right amount of difficulty for Leo while providing a sense of accomplishment when he does manage to link it together.
With the blocks he enjoys knocking down the structures I build for him with a satisfied “AHH!” as he swings his arms wildly at it. He also likes to throw another block at it to knock it over and he tries to re-build it by placing one block on top of another with little success so far but he gets the idea. At times he just bangs them together to make noise, something he does with other toys as well. As for the books, he likes to turn the pages but seems to get frustrated with them for a reason I have no clue as of yet so I have to watch him closely to take it away once he starts getting angry at it because it puts him in a bad mood. He either gets excited when I read Eric Carle’s ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ book or gets upset. He is strange sometimes. He’s a smart little dude though, since he experiments with his toys like trying to stack different toys together or placing toys in other toys. He’s learning through trial and error. He’s also starting to get the concept of ‘object permanence’ since I’ve observed that when a toy rolls behind another or I place it there, he follows it and knocks the blocking toy over to get to it.
Another ‘toy’ he likes are mirrors. He tries to give kisses to his reflection, which he also does to pictures of people in books too. He is a very affectionate little guy. I tend to smother him with hugs and kisses which he seems to like because he now gives me wet baby kisses and hugs me and Adam all the time as well. He is free with his baby cuddles, leaning his head on our shoulders when we carry him in arms. When either of us leaves the room, he starts yelling “Aiie!!!” over and over while flailing his arms until the person comes back. He looks in the direction the person went until they come back around the corner. It’s also endearing when he tries to jump in my arms when someone else is holding him because he wants me. Recently he’s been practicing getting on all fours and trying to climb just about everything, including me which he does while saying “mama!” over and over which I think is awesome. If I’m in another room I can sometimes hear him start saying “mama” so I come check and he greets me with a big smile and tries to move in my direction. It warms the cockles of my heart. So do his baby giggles when I tickled his ribs or even laugh myself which he likes to share in the joy with. He is such a happy person.
He has a hilarious sense of humour since he started smacking my boobs while nursing and laughing or pulling off and pinching me to see my reaction. The cheeky monkey! Sometimes he just gets distracted by what’s going on in the room and unlatches over and over again making it a very long nursing session. Lately he’s been nursing more often but for shorter periods, wanting to sit up and play for a few minutes then coming back. I find it annoying because I end up not being able to do anything except entertain him for hours but I suppose that comes with the job. He still likes to nurse sitting up periodically, not really getting much out of it but he finds it entertaining because he giggles throughout. Mostly because I’m perplexed by it I think.
We’ve been offering him solids for a while now but he isn’t all that interested in eating them. We tried giving him peas but all he did was squish them between his thumb and index finger. I also offered him a peach puree but he wasn’t interested in that either. He loves apples though, always reaching for them when I eat them. He holds them in his hands and uses his two bottom teeth to scrape some of the pulp off and sucks on the juices. We’ve decided to follow the baby-lead solids philosophy, allowing him to dictate what solids goes in his mouth to allow him to follow his natural feeding inclinations. That way he learns to listen to his body’s hunger cues and also works on his self-feeding skills rather than just sit there like a blob opening his mouth for food like a hungry hippo. He likes to control what goes in his mouth anyways and refuses to accept food he hasn’t held in his hands first. At his age he doesn’t need the nutrition; my milk provides that, so he mostly just wants to experiment with tastes and textures. I’m not too excited about solid poos and the way they smell anyways so there is no rush.
When we went to the clinic to check to see if he had an ear infection brewing because he was playing with his ears (which he didn’t so that was relieving), we had him weighed and measured. It seems that the Wii Fit isn’t accurate because it claimed he was 4 pounds heavier than what he really was which is actually 19 pounds rather than 23. So now we know not to use that anymore. He measures 2 feet, 4 inches in height so his old car seat would have been too short for him anyways so the purchase of a convertible car seat was not premature. He much prefers his new one anyways because he sits more upright in it so he can see more and play with his toys. He’s much better in the car now, usually entertaining himself or falling asleep right away which is a blessing compared to how he was his first few months of life. I can even ride in the front now with Adam since we got a car mirror that we can see him in and vice versa. Makes travelling much nice since the heated seats are in the front only and Alberta is ridiculously cold.
I have a thought that Leo might be walking or at least furniture cruising by the summer since he pulls himself up on our laps and holds onto furniture or our arms now. He almost gets onto all fours but still can’t seem to figure out what to do with his legs. When on his stomach he just spins around in a circle and gets frustrated and throws a baby tantrum, lying on his face and crying into the floor. This usually requires a cuddle to make him feel better. Because of this, I’m starting to think of ways to make his environment safer for him to explore since I don’t want to be a ‘no!’ parent, wrongfully expecting him to obey my commands which is unthinkable for his developmental level and harmful for his developing sense of curiosity. I would rather make our home safe for him to discover new things and manipulate them to practice his skills and to develop a healthy self-esteem and love of learning. This requires some creativity as to where to put things but I’ve always loved to re-arrange furniture and things, as some people already know.
So apart from creating a play area in our living room, we’ve moved the single mattress in our bedroom so that he gets his own sleeping space while still being in our room so that the transition to his own bedroom eventually while be smoother. I found that he sleeps better when he’s got ample room to move around (as do I!) so he sleep on the single mattress on the floor beside our bed, making it easy for me to roll on to nurse him and then climb back into our bed to sleep. In the mornings when he wakes up he just looks over and sees us beside him and smiles, wriggling over to us and tries to climb our mattress (which only sits on a box spring on the floor). I like the idea that he never has worry about waking up alone and afraid because we’re right there with him. I also get to sneak away in the morning far easier to have my coffee while letting my boys sleep in, while as before he would wake up from me shifting position thus foiling my plans. I’m still thinking of ways of place our furniture for when he is able to crawl around since I don’t want him rolling off the bed and getting into our things while we’re sleeping but that won’t be for a while yet, hopefully.
Meanwhile our tele room is pretty ghetto looking without anything to sit on so we moved our rocking chair in there for Adam to use while gaming and I just sit on the floor on a blanket with Leo. We’re looking into getting a futon in there that can double as a guest bed. We moved our tele in there so that Leo isn’t subjected to too much screen time while he plays because the distraction it isn’t healthy for his developing brain and it provides me with a quiet space for when I have play dates with other mums. Our home feels more like home now that we have furniture. Our last apartment was pretty sad looking. In the new year I want to keep my eye out for cool things on kijiji to transform our house into a veritable playground for Leo and his friends. I would like to eventually open a humble day home while we are living here to bring in more income and provide social stimulation for Leo.
There are many interesting things in store for us this year and I can’t wait to get them all underway. I am grateful that Adam took a few months off for parental leave to help me around the house and with Leo so that I can adequately plan and organise some the new projects I am interested in starting. It’s also nice to get some time to myself during the day and for Leo to spend time with his Daddy since I have a feeling that Adam will be gone a lot next year. Until that happens I will take the much needed break and milk it for all its worth!