Monday, April 7, 2014

Gabriel: 8 Months

+JMJ+

Saturday was a big day for our family. In the morning I drove about an hour to my cousin's bridal shower in New Jersey (more on that soon!), spent the afternoon with a great bunch of ladies, then made the drive back home...completely solo.

That's right. This past Saturday was the day Gabriel "officially" turned 8 months old and it was the first time in his young life that he was apart from me for more than a few hours! The astute reader will also pick up on the fact that this means I also finally went somewhere/did something for an extended amount of time without Gabriel for the first time in his life.

All I can say about this is that even though I missed him, it was a long time coming and I'm so grateful to have finally had this kind of experience. I love love love our little boy and I love being with him...but it was good for this new mom to remember what it felt like to go somewhere without being "the mom with the baby" to everyone I encountered. Don't get me wrong - I love playing that role. I embrace it with open arms. But this time I was just me. Still a mom. But what a different experience! I even got a little crazy and blasted the car radio more than once. Crazy, I tell you.

So how did my husband and our son fare without me? Very well, actually! Despite the fact that Gabriel never took a bottle (ever - not just that day), still won't take a cup, and doesn't particularly like any pureed foods we've tried giving him, he ate. And there were (I'm told) relatively few tears shed until the last couple of hours when Gabriel had probably reached a somewhat frustrating level of tiredness, teething pain, and hunger. He didn't nap as much as normal but he did nap...and he ate...so I'm calling it a huge success! And oh, the joy he expressed when we awoke to me being home is just too priceless to put into words.

Now on to the things you probably expected to be reading in this post - the 8 month updates!

Don't be fooled - he didn't really eat that bowl of sweet potatoes....

Eating
  • We've tried sippy cups (with and without valves) and the baby straw cups...without much success. Will this child ever learn to latch onto or suck on anything other than his mother? The jury is still out on this one. Advice, tips, tricks? Encouraging words? I'll take them all - please and thank you!
  • I've also tried taking lids off of cups and pouring it in Gabriel's mouth and/or trying to let him drink from the cup on his own...which he didn't like very much, either. Help??
  • Gabriel likes baby oatmeal!!! The one saving grace that probably kept him somewhat well-fed while I was gone on Saturday.
  • "Soft solids" we've tried introducing him to thus far: rice cereal, oatmeal, green beans, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, bananas, and mangoes. 
    • "Soft solids" he has seemed to like in the slightest: oatmeal. Just oatmeal.
  • My sister let us know about Mum Mums (great for teething babies and babies that still have no teeth!) so we introduced those last week. He doesn't seem to love them but he ate 2 while I was gone so that's a start!
  • He still nurses frequently. Way more frequently than children his age (like every couple hours - occasionally going 3 or 4). I'm pretty sure he is a perpetual grazer.


Nap Time
  • Pretty much the same as before...although he did manage to (after somewhat of a struggle) nap in a portable crib when we visited my sister in Boston. Maybe we can try this at home soon?

Bed Time
  • Also basically the same as last month. Although we have begun discussing "sleep training" more seriously. Nights like last night (when he woke up 5 times) make my tired body think this needs to happen asap...and make my brain think it's going to be a rough few nights. Helpful tips or personal anecdotes?

Bath Time
  • He still loves it! Especially if he has a toy or can get his hands on the plastic cup we use to pour water on him.


Play Time
  • I don't even know where to begin. He loves the stacking rings and plastic shapes we gave him this past month!
    • He doesn't yet stack the rings on the stand, but he loves taking them off...and holding onto them forever. Sometimes never letting go during a nap or the entire time we go to daily Mass.
  • He is getting better at throwing.
  • He seems to love music more and more - and will often start bouncing to the beats when I turn it on.
  • He seems to like books more and more - mainly because he likes how they feel when he hits them...or chews on them. But he does tend to sit through The Very Hungry Caterpillar and some Winnie-the-Pooh stories with more interest (especially because of the illustrations) than when I read other stories.
  • He loves the noises I make for elephants, lions, and dogs. Especially the dog's "woof woof."
  • He has lots of fun turning our light switches off and on whenever I take him to play with his reflection in the bathroom mirror.
  • He looooooves being tossed in the air!
  • We've been having some pretty epic giggle fits around these parts.

Last week during his first cold ever. Still loving life! Probably in large part
because he is just a joyful boy - but also because we invested in a NoseFrida
last month! What a lifesaver so he could breathe better.

Growth/Development
  • No teeth yet, but still teething like crazy.
  • Oh, object permanence. Gabriel has shown signs of this understanding for at least a couple months but it really picked up this past month. 
    • He always remembers toys (or the NOT toys) are still there and will fuss when he can't have them.
    • I had to take more care than ever before to keep talking to him or stay in his line of sight when leaving him alone on the floor or leaving the room momentarily so he wouldn't get too upset.
  • He can sit without doing the tripod stance! He could do this before, but not for very long before he would topple over. Now if I give him a little Boppy pillow support (mainly to ease when he eventually gets tired and falls/lays down) he can happily sit and play for a loooooong time. 
  • Nowadays we don't use the Bumbo unless I need to securely fasten Gabriel in somewhere for some reason.
  • He is basically crawling without really crawling.
    • His rolling and maneuvering tricks have advanced to the level of being able to traverse any length of the room in order to procure whatever item peaks his interest.
    • He rolls, wiggles, spins himself around, scoots, and can even pull his body forward if he can grab onto something stable.
  • This morning I turned around to find him rocking on his hands and knees for the first time ever! Traditional crawling, here we come (or so I think).
  • This morning I also saw him push himself back up into a seated position from playing on his tummy for the first time ever. 
  • He remains tall and thin.
  • His hair is so thick! At least compared to when he was born and compared to every other baby from my side of the family. Not so much compared to the thick head of hair his daddy was sporting at his age, but that's fine. Give it time.
  • He can now sit in practically any restaurant high chair! Last month this was still iffy and largely dependent on the style of the highchair's back and sides because he is thin. Sometimes we still need to give him some extra padded support via blanket or my jacket, but he can sit (and often enjoys it) nonetheless.
  • Vocally, he still babbles (mainly Bs and Ms), and he has picked up the "H" sound...which he likes to repeat in a way that sounds like an awkward laugh (heh...heh...heh...ha!).
  • He is really exploring his vocal range again - constantly shrieking and forming new noises in all possible pitches (but mainly the high-pitched variety).
  • He gave his first kiss! It was for his cousin, S, when she said goodnight to him during our recent stay in Boston. He has yet to kiss anyone else...except for his reflection in the mirror. For real.

I'm sure there are countless other updates but it's so hard to think of them all! I'm thankful that these posts force me to try and jot it all down before it becomes too much of a blur. Overall this past month was a huge one in terms of development. The pseudo-crawling, independent sitting, and public highchair usage are real game-changers. I can't wait to see what Gabriel has in store of us this next month. :)

P.S. On this date 2 years ago (it was Easter Vigil 2012) my husband received all 3 Sacraments of Initiation in the Catholic Church. Happy Baptismal Day, my darling!

"For infants and toddlers learning and living are the same thing. If they feel secure, treasured, loved, their own energy and curiosity will bring them new understanding and new skills."

-Amy Laura Dombro

2 comments:

  1. I always envy the bath time portion of your updates. This weekend was the first time Simon didn't scream his head off while we were giving him a bath. I'm always astounded by babies who actually love taking a bath

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    1. Haha fair enough! I admit that I always feel a slight twinge when I discover that other people's babies take bottles, sleep through the night, take to pureed foods like a fish to water, or can fall asleep for naps on their own. ;) But, of course, Gabriel is Gabriel and I wouldn't have him any other way! I'm sure you can relate - but my heart truly goes out to you with Simon's bath time! I can imagine how draining that must be for everyone involved.

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