31 August 2009

Addendum: Another First

To Meredith: Eamon and Lucas must have both learned to read our blogs, since I just posted yesterday that Eamon still wasn't crawling.

He's now gotten so full of himself that he's trying to climb up the stairs as I write this. Luckily, he's not strong enough to even get himself on the first step yet.

Nevertheless, the days of setting him on the floor and turning away are over.

30 August 2009

A Bunch of Firsts

Part I: Getting Sick

It was a miracle in Baby World when we went 7 ½ months without Eamon getting sick. Unfortunately, that had to come crashing to an end eventually, and unlike most babies, Eamon picked a pretty good time to indoctrinate us into the world of sick infants. I was done with summer school, but hadn’t gone back to my regular job or started classes at William and Mary yet. Aaron had just finished the summer Teacher Institute, so he was working relatively normal hours again.

Besides his sense of timing, another lovely thing about Eamon has been his ability to sleep through the night since he was about 3 months old. He was even sleeping 12 hours some nights, and since he’s been able to put his own pacifier back in his mouth, wasn’t even waking up for a “paci-check.” About a two weeks ago, though, he woke up crying. A few times. He had been drooly and chewing on things, so we assumed that he was teething. We put his pacifier back in his mouth and told him to go back to sleep. He tried, but by 5:00 he couldn’t take it anymore so I got up with him and fed him. I assumed that he was just hungry, and maybe going through a growth-spurt.

The next night, though, he was up again. This time, he would not go back to sleep. He was burning up, but the entire house was warm, and his room was especially toasty from having the door closed. Aaron gave him Tylenol (once again assuming it was his teeth), but after Eamon was up from 2:00-3:30, Aaron woke me up and said it was my turn. I blearily got up and rocked Eamon, singing softly to him, until he sort of nestled in, but even then he couldn’t really sleep. I finally gave him 3 ounces of formula, cranked up the A/C, took him into the guest room (which was a lot cooler), and slept there with him until morning. Even with me there, he slept fitfully, waking every hour or so and whimpering until I soothed him back to sleep.

In the morning, he was still burning up, even though the house was a lot cooler. I decided to take his temperature. Eamon’s temp usually runs low, like mine, somewhere in the 97s. Imagine my shock when the thermometer therefore started at 99 and climbed to 101.6! We took him to my mother (who used to work in pediatrics), but she couldn’t find any symptoms other than the fever, so she said we needed to go to the doctor.

What followed was probably the longest 3 hours possible. Dr. Thomas also couldn’t find anything wrong with him, other than this really high fever, and he looked so lifeless and miserable. Ears and throat looked fine, so she decided to run some blood and urine tests just to be sure. Eamon was a trooper, and though he cried while they were inserting the catheter and sticking him with needles, he calmed down pretty quickly afterwards, which was both a testament to his disposition and his illness.

Eamon at the doctor's office

And the tests showed…nothing. Dr. Thomas was a bit torn. It was probably just a virus, but he looked so puny that she prescribed an antibiotic just to be sure. We took Eamon home and gave him the Augmentin…which he then proceeded to projectile vomit everywhere.

Anyway, after a couple of days, Eamon began to rapidly improve. The medicine was still upsetting his stomach, so I called the doctor’s office and they recommended stopping the antibiotic. If he got sick, start it up again, and if not, then it was definitely viral. He stayed healthy, and has therefore weathered his first virus.

Part 2: Mobility? Sort of?

Eamon has grown increasingly interested in crawling. Unfortunately, he’s still not very good at it. He can get his little butt up into the air, and can even get up on his hands…and then…lunges and flops. He still isn’t able to get to a sit by himself, either (though apparently he did it once for his Oma over the weekend…and then not again since), and I hear that they really have to be able to sit up before they can crawl.

Even more interesting to Eamon, however, is the ability to stand. He has already started pulling up on things, and can even get himself to his knees, though he’s unsure of where to go from there. He likes to play standing more than sitting, and his legs are really strong. Actually, all of Eamon is very strong…just not very coordinated. I’m afraid he might have gotten my coordination, for which I am very sorry.

Nevertheless, he can scoot on his little bottom enough to get things that are far away, and rolls over very proficiently. He can even do 360 degree circle while on his belly.

Eamon is still much more mobile in the water than on land.

Okay, I just really like pictures of Eamon in the pool...even when they only tangently fit in with the entry itself.

Part 3: The New House

I am secretly sort of glad that Eamon has yet to master mobility. Aaron and I recently made the decision to join the world of Homeowners, thanks to wonderful parents and Uncle Obama’s $8,000 tax credit). We’re very excited to be moving into a house of our own (I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about that in the future), but right now the house we’re in is a mess of boxes everywhere as we get ready for our Sept. 21 closing date. Therefore, it’s kind of nice not to have to try to babyproof the house we’re leaving for just three weeks before we have to turn around and babyproof another house.

Part 4: Hey Baby, What’s Your Sign?

As soon as Aaron and I realized that his friends Shawn and Liz had taught their (then) baby Mason to sign, we knew that we would be teaching our babies to sign—and this was long before we even realized we would be having babies together. So a couple of months ago, I purchased a Baby Signs Favorites DVD. Eamon was only about 5 months old, but he was entranced by it. The sock puppets, the signing teddy bear, the cartoon kids, and the real kids, too…he loved it all.

I therefore decided to go out and buy the entire Baby Signs DVD set. For a couple of months now, I’ve been making Eamon watch it with me. Each DVD is about 20-30 minutes long, and he’ll usually sit through an entire one (he will NOT sit still that long for anything else on TV). I’ve really been pushing the Mealtimes signs, and we’ve been trying to use the signs whenever we feed him, too. I knew that we wouldn’t see any results for awhile, since the information booklet said that most kids don’t start using signs until they’re 8-12 months old.

Well, Eamon must have heard me telling someone that, because he turned 8 months old yesterday. Two days ago, he started clenching and unclenching his hand—the sign for milk (well, formula in our case). His Oma (Aaron’s mother) was the first to see him do it, and assumed he was just saying “hi,” which has made me aware of the fact that I need to let people know about the signs.

Nevertheless, we weren’t sure that he knew what he was doing. The other night, he woke up hungry again (he went on a hunger strike after the medicine, and it’s taken awhile to get him back to eating normally), and was making the sign in the middle of the night, too.

Then today, while we were running errands, Eamon started making the “milk” sign at me. I still wasn’t sure he knew was he was doing, so I made it back and asked, “You want milk?” He immediately started crying when no milk was produced. He kept making the sign until we got to my mother’s house and she brought him out a bottle. He drank the entire thing and then promptly fell asleep.

20 August 2009

Family Time

I've always loved writing (a fact which Aaron exploited mercilessly when he started this blog, knowing full well that I would do most of the writing and he would have to do very little), so it's not often that I simply post a bunch of pictures. That being said, this past Saturday and Sunday we went to visit Aaron's family up in the Maryland/Delaware area, and took a ton of pictures. Therefore, I'll use most of the time I would normally spend writing uploading pictures.

Eamon and Daddy at swim lessons Saturday morning.

Eamon loves the water.

He's learned that he can kick his feet and make himself move (even though he still hasn't mastered mobility on land in the slightest).

He's comfortable in just about any position, and thinks it's all great fun.

But then again, maybe he just loves spending time with his super-fun Daddy.

Of course, his Aunt Meredith (Aaron's sister) is pretty cool, too.

She's even brave enough to hold two babies at a time! (on the left is her her son, Lucas, aged 10 1/2 months--exactly 3 months older than Eamon).

Eamon LOVES his cousin Lucas as well.

In fact, he kept kissing and kissing Lucas (which can be kind of sloppy, since Eamon learned to kiss from Nesta, our dog).

Even when poor Lucas really didn't want to be kissed (sorry, Lucas!)

He also got to spend some time with his cousin, Ellie (aged 3). He didn't kiss her as much, since she spent most of the time running around and playing.

We tried to take some nice pictures of the boys on Sunday, but it turns out it's really hard to get two infants to look at you and smile at the same time. This was the best one I got.

For the grand finale, we took a picture of Eamon with his Opa, Oma, and cousin Ellie and Lucas just before we had to get back on the road.

And when we got home, Eamon was an only child once more, with only his bowls and spoons to play with...
...how long until Thanksgiving?

11 August 2009

The Wolfe Academy

I once read an advice column in which someone asked, “What do you DO all day with a baby?”

That was a question on my mind entering this summer. I hadn’t really been alone all day with Eamon since he was seven weeks old, and once I finished summer school, it was going to be days and days of Eamon and me at home together. We don’t have a ton of money, and anyway, he’s only 7 months old, so there aren’t that many places we could go together anyway.

Nevertheless, we’ve found ourselves quite a comfortable routine for the days. I have therefore written up the curriculum for The Wolfe Academy for 6-8 month olds:

6:00AM: Wake-up time (change diaper, put on new outfit for the day, eat a hearty breakfast of formula)

6:00-8:00ish: Enrichment Activities, choose from:
· Fitness Regimen (walking around the block)
· Zoological Investigation (playing with dog outside)
· Musical Education (pounding on the piano/drum)
· Environmental Studies (playing on his rainforest play mat)
· Artistic Expression (Mommy takes myriad photos of baby)

8:00-9:00ish: Rest

9:00-9:30: Nourishment (bananas and oatmeal, formula)

9:30-11:00: Educational Activities, choose from:
· Noun Exploratorium (sitting in the kitchen, playing with pots, pans, wooden spoons, measuring cups, etc.)
· Mobility Training (practice crawling on the floor; eating leaves Nesta has dragged in from outside)
· Language Arts (Baby Signs videos, Sesame Street ABC videos)
· Mathematics Lessons (Sesame Street Counting Videos)

11:00-12:30ish: Rest

12:30-1:00: Nourishment (turkey and veg; choose from sweet potatoes, peas, or carrots)

1:00-3:00: Field Trip
· Agricultural Research (grocery shopping)
· Business & Consumerism (Target)
· High Fashion & Society (mall)
· Family Bonding (grandparents’ house)

3:00-4:00ish: Rest

4:00-4:30: Nourishment (formula, plain and simple)

4:30-6:30: Free Choice
· choose from any of earlier activities; whatever keeps Eamon occupied and happy at this point

6:30-7:00: Bedtime Procedures
· Cleanliness Rituals (bath, every 2nd or 3rd day to prevent skin drying)
· Literary Appreciation (board books)
· Nourishment (formula)
· Musical Theater (Mommy sings lullabies)


Special Events:

  • Swim Lessons / Pool
  • Guest Relations
  • Attending Meetings (with Mommy at school)
  • Father/Son Bonding! (hooray! Daddy! Daddy = whimsy and spontaneity! Mommy = routine).

So that’s it. Our day in a nutshell. The times are approximate, however, and sometimes there are no field trips, so Eamon and I just make do as best we can.

Overall, however, I have a feeling that both Eamon and I are going to have a rude awakening come the end of August. I’ve really enjoyed having this time with him. He’s a special and neat little guy and I’m already looking forward to next summer.

05 August 2009

Little Renaissance Man

As the days go on, and Eamon grows and matures, we start to see more and more of his personality. No longer content to just sit and watch the world go by, Eamon's personality is ever more evident. As most first time parents probably do, I love to watch Eamon doing whatever he's doing, and wonder if it's just a fleeting interest, or if someday I'll be telling people, "He always showed remarkable interest in _________, even as a small child." Here are some of the possibilities for the future of our little man:

The Swimmer
Eamon starts swimming lessons this Saturday. Ever since the first debacle in the pool, he’s gotten much better. I’ve taken him to the pool twice with my friend Beth, and both times, he’s loved it. He can’t do much in the water, of course, but he splashes with the best of them and has no fear of putting his face in the water (I think he’s drinking it sometimes).

After taking a nice swim, I put Eamon down for a minute on the chair with the towel spread out underneath him. He preceded to then wrap himself up in the towel, as seen here.

I’m not exactly sure what they do in swim lessons for 7 month olds, but we’ll find out soon enough. We’re taking the lessons at the Riverside Wellness Center, which is a relief because they have an indoor pool so I don’t have to worry about the sunburn issue. Only one of us can go in the water with him, but the other one can watch. Since Aaron was the lifeguard back in the day, he gets to go in the pool while I am relegated to cheerleader and photographer.

The Model
Speaking of photographs, Eamon (like most babies today) has had a camera in his face pretty much since he was born. In the beginning, he had no idea what the camera was, so it took forever to get him to look at the camera and actually smile. Now, however, it’s almost impossible to get a candid picture of the kid. When we take pictures inside, our camera has an orange light as the flash. Eamon now knows this orange light, and will automatically stop whatever he is doing to look at the camera and smile. Sometimes this means he stops the incredibly cute thing he was doing that prompted me wanting to take a picture in the first place.

Eamon can't pull himself to a stand yet, but can keep himself up there for awhile if you stand him up first.
The Techie
Again, like most babies, Eamon appears to have a deep fascination with everything electronic. Despite the expensive, brightly-colored toys that we’ve bought him, Eamon covers, in this order: 1) the TV remote control; 2) our cell phones; 3) the computer. We’ve attempted to trick him somewhat by giving him an old TV remote control and cell phone with the batteries removed, but it only half works. He knows that Mommy and Daddy never use those things, so he isn’t that interested, either. He knows which remote makes the TV work, and that’s the one he wants so that he can press all the buttons. What fun is a remote that doesn’t make the TV do wonky things?

Mmm...old cell phone (battery removed)

The Chef/Drummer
In the long-standing tradition of babies everywhere, Eamon has also begun his love with Gladware, pots, spoons, and whisks. These things are WAY better than regular toys, and he can sit in the kitchen for close to 45 minutes and play with these things. Anywhere else, he gets bored after 10 minutes, which is why I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen recently thinking about how I should probably mop the floor or something.

Mmmm...wooden spoon.

The Piano Man
Ever since he was big enough for me to wedge upright in something resembling a sitting position, I’ve been playing the piano for Eamon. I’m not terribly good, and that’s something that always regretted. I didn’t start playing the piano until I was about 11, and I was always frustrated because I didn’t want to learn to play “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” thirty-eight times in order to learn the basics. I have this feeling that if I had started young, when repetition is a delightful and desired thing, I would have enjoyed it a lot more and kept with it. So, I make it a point to have Eamon “play” the piano with me everyday. I attempt to play melodies for him, but more and more, he slaps my hands away so that he can “play” instead. He’s not bad. We have an electronic piano (the same one my parents bought for me when I was 11), and he already knows how to turn on the beats. He can make them go faster or slower, and loves to bang on the keys with them (not in time, of course). Sometimes he even sings while he does it. It’s hysterical, and while he certainly won’t be taking piano lessons for while, I’m hoping that having him play around on it this young will instill the love, so that when he is old enough, he can start learning for real.

Okay, yeah, it's another piano video. BUT! He's so much better than this one! His skill has advanced tremendously! His sense and rhythm and timing are maturing! Really, it's worth watching another piano video just to see the sheer joy on his face as he pounds away at the keys. (And, just so the world knows: I had an even better video, in which he very seriously turned on the beat, slowed it down, pounded on the keys, sang along, and then threw up his hands dramatically when he finished. And then I accidentally erased it. And then I spent the rest of the evening cursing myself).