Tuesday, April 11, 2017

8 Months of Samuel

Eight whole months of loving my silly, happy, joyful little man. I am seeing him shift from toddler to baby in front my eyes and it is so bittersweet. He couldn't be more fun, but is definitely asserting his independence which makes me want to remind him, "I know you think you are a big boy but you are still my little baby, okay?!" His eighth month was full of lots of adventure as we spent the first half of it in London and Ireland! Besides on sleepless transatlantic flight, Samuel was a dream to travel with. He was completely in his element on the busy tube in London and loved all of the attention he got from the friendly Irish grandmas everywhere we went. Social butterfly to the max!

Likes: People, food, playing with his toys (especially his new-to-us Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles and balls), SWINGS (we swing everyday at the park and it is the highlight of his life), touching grass/ plants, his Mimi's glasses (and just his Mimi in general), when Preston does crazy hops, practicing standing.

Dislikes: Not being super mobile - he army crawls but if something is really far away he will get frustrated that he can't just stand up and go and get it! He also dislikes when I wipe his face (and hands and belly and hair) off after he eats solids. He makes the silliest, most overdramatic faces while I am getting him cleaned up and it cracks me up. Love that little goof ball!

Stats: We still haven't measured Samuel, we need to get on that! But the last time we weighed him at my mom's house he was 23 lbs 4 ounces! He is exclusively in 18 month clothes and I am now buying 24 month clothes which makes me tear up a little - he is growing so quickly! (I feel like the picture above accurately shows what a big boy he is!)

Eating: Like a CHAMP. Samuel nurses about every 2-3 hours during the day (but only gets a good feed if we are at home in his nursery since he distracted by everything as I've mentioned in the past), a couple of times at night and eats solids twice a day. His favorite food is avocado - just like his mom! He usually eats 1/2 avocado per day for breakfast though we do switch it up from time to time. He will eat just about anything but other favorites are sweet potatoes and bananas. I gave him salmon recently and that was such a different flavor that he gave me the funniest face but then continued to gnaw at it (I gave it to him in his mesh eater). I know that it is really common for babies to get pickier around the 12-18 month mark so I am enjoying my awesome eater right now!

Sleeping: I will start with the good. :) On our trip, Samuel adjusted to the 6 hour time change really well. We had a rough bed time the first night but then he went down easy almost every other night and was a trooper about napping on the go (in the stroller or in the Ergo). I tried to loosely monitor his wake times but not stress about it and we more so went by his sleepy queues and did the best we could to make sure he got enough rest and we all had fun exploring. When we got home, I quickly realized Samuel was ready to drop his third nap (which is normal to do around this age). We went to a 2-3-4 schedule (his first wake time is 2 hours from when he wakes up, then 3 and then 4 hours of awake time before bed) and it works wonderful. Most days we stick to this and Samuel is up between 6-6:30, takes two 75 minute naps and goes to bed at 6. He is happy and rested during the day which makes him and Preston and I very happy! The downside is that he is still waking up several times a night. We attempted to do some sleep training, and to be completely honest it felt so incredibly wrong and unhealthy to me that I decided to stop on night one. I am comfortable letting Samuel fuss and self soothe for 5-10 minutes but there is a big difference between that and inconsolable crying. Yes, he is an older baby and I am fully aware that sleep training works wonders for tons of people (many of our friends) but it is not for us right now. I am trying to find a balance that feels right for our family - I know that we will get there and lately I have just tried to enjoy the fact that I am Samuel's comfort and that cuddles and breastfeeding are what soothe him. In a few short years these sleepless nights will be a distant memory so I am trying to focus on the positive as much as possible now (which is not to say that I am not bleary eyed or an over-tired emotional mess somedays, ha)! Edited to add: I am writing this one week after Samuel turned 8 months and he slept 9 hours straight last night!!!! WOOP!

Personality: I write it every month, but he has such a big personality. He is outgoing, gregarious, smiley and incredibly chatty. Samuel is very curious - in the morning once he wakes up and nurses our routine involves going around the house and touching the light switches, stair banister, plant leaves - he wants to experience it all! He is also a rough houser - he pulls my hair, loves aggressively petting animals and has a lot to learn in the gentle department. ;) He can also go from 0 to 60 in no time at all so we've already started our conversations of 'It is okay to feel frustrated, but how we can we react better?' even though he has no idea what I am saying!

Firsts: His biggest first was exploring two new countries - England and Ireland! First time to a castle, on a tube, in a pub - I could go on and on with all of the firsts he got to experience on our trip. :) Samuel also said his first word, mama! It melted my heart just as much as you would expect! He has also been army crawling (really it is more of doing the worm/ crawling/ planking and is absolutely hilarious to watch). We are working on waving and he has the motions just about down. He has tried several more foods - salmon, chicken, many more veggies. First time to a nursery (he was in heaven - he loves plants) and first time to a farm (we only minority injured all of the animals with Samuel's aggressive petting...). We also celebrated his first St. Patrick's Day as soon as we got back from Ireland which felt very fitting!

Parents: We had such a fun month! It was such a special experience to take Samuel on his first big international trip. Traveling together is something that Preston and I truly love (and we joke that it helps keep us in sync) and we have always talked about continuing it once we had children. We had a lot of people tell us that we were crazy to take a 7 month old half way around the world but we are so happy that we did it and can't wait for many more trips together. Preston was really busy with work the second half of the month and I was surviving off of broken sleep (see above) so it wasn't quite as fun as gallivanting around Europe, but quite honestly we have such a beautiful life and I think we both feel very fulfilled right now. I have been trying to step away more now that Samuel is a bit older which has been really good for all of us. In general, I like my family close by (when I lived in a different state from my mom I think I still saw her every other month) but I know that it is important to take me time and for Samuel to get bonding in with his dad (and Mimi!). I have had more time to dive in a new CASA volunteer case and I was even able to sneak away for a massage the day Samuel turned 8 months which was heaven. We've decided that moving forward we are going to really focus on making date night a priority, we have had birthdays and celebrations lately that we have used our babysitter nights on (that have been super fun!) but we are excited to get in some 1 on 1 dates together.

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