Monday, January 23, 2017

Liam is 11 Months Old!

I feel like I blinked and Liam aged another month! 11 months!! Oh my gosh...he's nearly a year old!! I knew these months would go by so quickly! It seems like once 6 months hit, babies just start gaining more and more independence - they learn to sit, self-feed, scoot, crawl, entertain themselves, get into mischief...

It all happens so fast.

Too fast!!!

I was just looking at my kids today - staring hard at them, actually - trying to captures these fleeting moments in my mind. It's like they are slipping through my fingers! I hear the words so many people tell me:

"They won't stay little for long! It goes by so fast!"

...and I do hear them, it's just...it's just so hard to not want the hard phases to end and to take for granted their sweet tiny bodies and cuddly, needy personalities. It's a double-edged sword - I'd love to have a little less demand from them, but then when I get some space, I realize they don't need me as much as they did yesterday and that makes me saaaaaad because they are growing up before my eyes!! WHYYYYYY

Liam has really been displaying some "toddler behaviors" lately!! He has learned that it's "naughty" to go play in the bathroom! He starts crawling really fast towards it, and I get up and run after him and he giggles and crawls faster and tries to hide behind the toilet before I can catch him! It's his new favorite game!

He thows his lovies out of his crib.

He throws food he doesn't like or when he's full!

He criiiiiiiies when he's trying to reach the remote and I take it away!

He gets really mad when sister is having a snack and he doesn't have one.

Liam loves bathtime! He giggles and kicks all the way upstairs and practically jumps out of my arms trying to get into the tub while I undress him! Both the kids go nuts for bathtime! It's kind of a monsoon these days - they get pretty wild! Ava was such a "well-behaved" baby in the tub - not Liam! He crawls all over and pulls to stand and falls into the water, but he is laughing the whole time! I've had to drastically lower the water level in the tub because he is so crazy! Ava and Liam are pretty much constantly moving and laughing in the tub! It's exhausting...but I love it.

Liam has 5 teeth! He's been busy cutting teeth this month! The 6th one will erupt soon!

I haven't heard any words out of Liam's mouth, but I swear the other day he said "Ava"! Haha probably just my imagination, though! The rest of the time he is just babbling away! I'm hoping his first word will be "mama"! He says "dada" all the time but he doesn't associate it with "daddy" so that doesn't actually count! I think he's trying to say "all done", but I can't be sure that's what he's saying. I need a little more time to hear it - "ahhh nah" is what it sounds like - in context before I can determine if it's intentional or not!

There's been a BIG change in our house lately...momma gets uninterrupted sleep now!! Liam was eating around the clock, every 4 hours or less, so I decided to take a leap and see if I could night wean him, or at least drop one night feeding. I'm so exhausted from broken sleep every night! My technique to get him back to sleep at night has always been to just feed him, no matter how long it had been since he last ate. Mainly because he wakes up crying so loud I just want him to be quiet so he doesn't wake Ava! If I try and go in to him and just hold him or rock him, he would just cry louder! So I wasn't sure how night weaning would go. Once when Ava was a baby, she was waking 4x per night and I was always just feeding her to get her back to sleep. Then it created a cycle where she was getting too many calories at night, so she had to keep waking up to get what she needed for the day. Her nursing sessions were too short in the daytime, and too long at night! So I night weaned her to "reset" her eating patterns, and she slept beautifully after that! So I felt like Liam needed the same adjustment! But he is a very different baby, so I was doubtful I'd have any luck. I braced myself for a mad baby in the middle of the night, and potentially waking up Ava with his cries. I assumed no one would get sleep that week!

The first night, he woke at midnight, and I just let him fuss to see what he would do. He fell back asleep!?! That was surprising. He woke again at 1, and did the same. Then he woke at 4, and was crying. I went to him and changed his poopy diaper, and rocked him. He was searching and wanting to nurse! But I needed to at least try to lay him down to go to sleep before giving in. I was already impressed he made it to 4! I laid him down. He was mad. But, within 10 minutes, he was asleep! He woke at 6 and I immediately went to him to feed him. I was so surprised he did it! And that began the "reset" - the next night he woke once around 4 and whined a bit and went back to sleep. And now he doesn't wake up at all!?!!!!! I can only hope this continues! I feel like a new person, being able to get more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep at a time!!

Liam LOVES food. Well, there are some things he doesn't like, but he eats a lot!! 2 waffles, a banana, and yogurt is a typical breakfast for him lately! Usually by the time I get both kids their breakfast and I get MY breakfast made, one or both of them is all done and ready to be washed up to go play!

Ava has discovered the word "NO" this week - but I'm proud of her for the way she uses it! Liam has started to get pretty grabby with her, and I've been trying to help her either relocate herself (like when she is having a snack I tell her to come sit on the couch so Liam won't bother her) or to tell him "no, I'm still playing with that". And she's starting to verbalize it! She's pretty passive in social situations, so I'm trying to build her confidence and give her words to use when someone is taking something from her. So it sounds a little something like this: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BUDDY THATS MIIIIIIIIIIINE! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIA!" hahaha!! But she's not really yelling at him like she's mad...she's just talking SO loud! It makes me laugh so I usually have to take a second and hide my smile and then go release Liam's grip and tell her she's doing a good job using her words!

But, for the most part, Liam and Ava play really well together. They seek each other out, and they are SO happy to be reuinited when we pick Ava up from school! They are playing together most of the time, but occasionally they branch off and go play by themselves. My favorite thing in the world is to hear their giggles while they play together!

Their first "sibling fight" has happened...they fight over Ava's sippy cup! Ava likes to offer it to Liam, and he'll take some drinks. But then Ava wants it back, and Liam is not pleased. Then it becomes a game to Ava, but Liam is definitely not finding the humor in it! And then Ava is upset that Liam is all over her, trying to get it, so I have to intervene! Liam likes his own water cup...but he's discovered that Ava's cup often times has juice in it, and he wants it so bad!!

Liam has yet to stand independently, so I think walking will be a few more months away still. He likes to sit on his knees and is a fast crawler! I hold his hands to help him walk or help him with the walker, but after a few steps he sinks to his knees and crawls away! It is so interesting to compare the two kids - Ava was standing independently at 8 months, wasn't crawling until 9 months, and then was walking at 10 months!! Liam crawled at 8 months, but has yet to stand independently or walk!

Ava's language is getting better and better! We can almost have full conversations! She can tell me more things she wants and is feeling. She's also been looking for more ways to be naughty...like getting into things on the counter and helping herself to food when she's noticed I've left the pantry unlocked! It is sooooo nice that I can tell her to do a task, and she understands and will do it (most of the time)! She's becoming more independent!!

Next month, I'm going to have a 2 year-old and a 1 year-old. Liam will be a big boy!!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

10 Months for Little Liam!

This post is a little late - but I'm actually a little impressed with myself that this is the ONLY late post in the last 10 months of his life!

We started this last month on a rough patch. November was a month of sickness for all 3 of us. It was discovered that Liam had a double ear infection at his 9 month appointment, so he got antibiotics. That explains why he's been so cranky! He finished out his meds but still wasn't acting like himself, and he was still pulling on his ear. He was a little feverish one morning, and then by the afternoon he was lethargic, and his temp had shot up - I'm not even joking here - to 105 degrees!!! I was in the middle of making dinner and I literally had to shut everything off and grab Ava from the table to take Liam to urgent care! I was kind of freaking out. It was dark outside and I couldn't see him in the car and I was terrified that he was going to have a febrile seizure and I wouldn't be able to see him! It took me 2 tries to find a place that was open. The nurse gave him Tylenol before the doctor even came in to see him. My poor Liam was so out of it and was covered in goosebumps. His ears were still infected, so the doctor gave us a new antibiotic.

The next 48 hours were no better. He had afternoon temp spikes of 104/105. It was misery - for us all! I called an advice nurse because, of course, it was Sunday, and I didn't know what to do for him! I was told he needed to be seen within 8 hours and I got in touch with his doctor and she recommended to take him to Children's Mercy for a 3-day series of an antibiotic shot. So we took off to get Liam fixed up and the poor guy had a slight reaction to the shot, so we had to hang out for a bit to make sure it wasn't a concern. PS - Children's Mercy Urgent Care is uh-MAZING...if your insurance covers it, it's worth the drive to one of their locations!! (still haven't gotten the statement...I'm hoping Tricare covers it!)

Within 24 hours, Liam was fine. We had a follow-up appointment with his doctor the next day, and she didn't think he needed any more shots.

Fricken scariest weekend of my life.

In the middle of ALL OF THAT, my family was making arrangements for my grandma's funeral. And so was Chris! I put in a Red Cross message to him and his Commander approved emergency leave for him, which is how he was able to come home BEFORE Christmas! So not under ideal cirucumstances, but I will say, it was pretty awesome to suddenly know that my husband was hopping on a series of flights to come back home to us!

I wasn't able to be in touch with Chris while Liam was so sick that weekend. I had to make a lot of decisions on my own. I'm so so so SO SO SO grateful for friends and family who were able to watch Ava for the trips to Urgent Care - it cut down on my stress level tremendously!!

Please, if you have the opportunity to help someone out, do it. Whether they have a deployed soldier or not. I can't tell you how helpless it feels to literally not be able to do things without someone else's help, and then to have someone who says "yeah, I can take care of that for you"...it literally means the world to me and it feels like a ton of bricks are taken off my shoulders! I can't wait until I can be that "person" for someone else. I want to pay it forward, because solo parenting SUCKS and it is SO HARD and I've only been doing it for a handful of months! Everybody needs help once in awhile!

Liam was quite happy to see his daddy again! And then he was a bit nervous. But mainly just really attached to mommy! But he had some pretty big smiles for daddy that I hadn't seen the whole time he's been gone!

The transition to daddy being home was a bit wild. The kids weren't themselves...and neither was napping. The predictable behaviors were gone so that made it frustrating to try and plan our days when the kids didn't cooperate as well. I can't say I blame them - these are big changes for these tiny humans, and we expected it to happen a bit. It was so great to see the kids with Chris - Ava was literally his shadow for the first few days - if she wasn't sitting with him, she was following him around the house!

We were planning on Chris being home for just 10 days, but then there was an issue with his military flight and he either had to pay like $$$$$$$$ for a flight within the next few days and risk being on standby for A WEEK in Texas, or pay a little less $$$$$ for a later flight and extend his leave, pending approval. So not ideal choices because we were really looking forward to another visit from him in the spring, and this overbooking took that away from us. But, there was no other way around it. So he was home for 3 weeks! We could have planned some more things to do had we known in the beginning it would turn into 3 weeks. So we just did things on the fly and got some date nights here and there and did a few things with the kids. Ava got to show daddy all of her skills at gymnastics and we went to go see Christmas lights at Deanna Rose. Ava was spoiled with lots of treats and screen time. It was nice to have mommy AND daddy home for playtime and bathtime and bedtimes. Ava was suddenly speaking in long sentences and talked almost non-stop for a lot of the time Chris was home!

So Liam was a lucky boy and got his daddy for most of this month! Liam has moved up to 12 month clothes, although they are still a tad bit big for him. Mostly just the pants - he is a little short! Liam loves to crawl and climb and pull to stand and sit on his knees and bounce and wiggle! He can't sit still! He's side stepping and walks while holding onto your hands, but he usually drops to his knees pretty quick. I think once the interest is there, he will be walking soon!

Strangely enough, Liam is kind of a picky eater! He refuses to eat about half of the foods I give him, whereas Ava ate EVERYTHING in sight at his age! He loves casseroles and one-pot dishes  - things that have lots of flavor! It could be that he is just not an adventurous eater. I think he likes more food than he realizes!

My Liam is still quite the fussy guy. He is so happy and silly, but he will let you know when he is not happy with something - especially diaper changes!! He cries his eyes out about 75% of the time he's being changed. You'd think I pinched him or something!

Liam goes to bed around 7, and wakes up around 7 am, give or take 30 minutes.

BUT.

He still wakes up randomly multiple times a night. One night when Chris was home, he woke up every 30 minutes for 3 HOURS STRAIGHT. By this age, Ava had started sleeping through the night, so it's really hard not to compare and get impatient with Liam! He typically wakes around 12 and 4, but it's not always consistent. I can't wait to sleep again, whenever that might be!!

Big sister is doing pretty great. She's let up on trying to push Liam, so that's been a welcome change! Big girl was measured recently and she is 3 feet tall!! She's pretty tall and people always think she's older than she actually is, probably also because she has so much hair! She will be 2 and a half years old in a few days! She's wayyy into baby dolls and all of her stuffed animals and Elmo is a new favorite! She loves counting and is getting better at saying her ABC's. Her new favorite show is Frosty the Snowman and she enjoys looking for Christmas lights outside our back door and trying to find the moon. She loves to help "parent" Liam: "TOO LOUD, BUDDY!" when he cries and "EAT YOUR FOOD!" when he throws food on the floor! She wipes his chin and rubs bubbles on his back in the tub. She brings him toys and snacks and yanks things out of his hands that she thinks he shouldn't have. I think there are a lot of little tiny toys she'd like, but we just can't have those around until Liam is a bit older. She's interested in underwear but I'm not ready to start her on potty training yet...I'm just not ready for that adventure for another few months, I think! Ava is still happy and a GREAT sleeper in her crib, so there are no plans to bump her from there just yet! The last thing I need is 2 kids up at night!

I just love this little Liam. He cuddles once in awhile in between his busy moments of playing. I think he tries to give kisses - he leans into my face with an open mouth! He loves bathtime and squirms and giggles when I go to undress him at the tub's edge. He might drive me up the wall with his middle of the night crying and his sometimes constant desire to be held, but I sure am thankful for this little guy! He really completes our family! I've always loved Ava but I think I love her more as a big sister! I couldn't imagine life without my two minions!! These last few weeks were great having daddy home, and we can't wait for these next many months to fly by so he can be home again!!