Wednesday, June 12, 2013

6 Months

Dear Benjamin,

I'm two weeks late writing your letter (sorry!) because you and I were on vacation and took a little bit longer to get back into the swing of things once we got home. I'm going to include all your advancements in those two weeks, as well, in this letter.

My baby is six months old. Wow! When we determined the dates of our trip to California I was very excited that you would be spending your half birthday there. I wanted to take you to the beach and show you the Pacific Ocean but we couldn't work it out. We still made it a special day with your first trip to an aquarium! We visited Sea Life Aquarium at Legoland in San Diego with Nana, Aunties Sarah + Aimee, and your cousin, Aiden. 
You love being out and about and I think you really enjoyed our time at the aquarium. We walked through it twice and enjoyed our lunch on the balcony patio. You spent a little time in your stroller, everyone's arms, and the sling. I love that you can sleep everywhere and you often do.
Six months. Some days I look at your newborn photos and it seems so long ago. I can't remember what you felt like when you were that tiny. I love watching you grow. You are such a sweet and happy baby. You always get compliments when we're with other people about how good you are and how sociable. It's silly how proud of you I am already but I am. Every time you hit a milestone or master a new task I'm so proud of and happy for you. I love watching you laugh at Daddy being silly or when you dance to music that's started playing. Your face lights up when we clap our hands for you. I love all the silly faces you make when you're trying a new food. You have grown and experienced so many new things in the last month [and a half], that I hardly know where to begin! Thankfully, I kept a journal again so that I could jot things down as we went.

You've been showing interest in our food and drink for a while now so I had decided that the weekend of May 5th (when Daddy was home from work) we would try sweet potatoes. We went to Whole Foods and picked you up a couple. Once we had you in your seat you couldn't care less about the food at first because you wanted to eat the bowl. Eventually you had a few nibbles of sweet potato. You made a funny face but otherwise I don't think you really cared yet. You didn't spit it out.. just played with it in your mouth then eventually swallowed. You had water (for the first time) out of a sippy cup and were a PRO. You LOVED the water!!
You've since tried: sweet potatoes (5/5), banana (5/18), avocado (5/20), tofu + edamame (5/29), lemon (5/31), pizza crust (6/8), saltine crackers (6/9), apple + pasta (6/11). You hated the lemon (no shock there) but LOVE avocado. You got really into the pizza crust and apple too. I think they feel good on your teething gums. You enjoy trying new foods and get mad when I eat something without giving you a bite. I try to be mindful of that so I'm not teasing you. Yesterday your doctor gave the green light for you to try any and all food but milk and honey. We're going to reintroduce you to eggs and dairy eventually and see if you're still sensitive to them. Baby led weaning is a fun and messy experience for you. I can tell that you enjoy it a lot. You've hardly actually eaten anything and make a huge mess but it's all part of that experience. 

Breastfeeding is still your main source of nutrition and I'm happy that I've been able to continue with it. Even though I brought the pump with me to California I didn't pump once and I haven't since we've been back. We used our entire stock of frozen milk by the week we got back and I'm okay with that. You are still nursing 8-10 times a day but you are only eating for 3-5 minutes on average. In the evening and at night you nurse longer but still only 8-10 minutes usually. I've had concerns off and on about you getting enough and enough of the hindmilk because you eat for such a short period. You're still growing and having enough diapers to you must be getting something! It was bound to happen but we've had issues with you biting me. Thankfully, you seem to have stopped but it still causes me a bit of anxiety when I bring you to me. You've also taken to flailing about, hitting me in the face, and pulling my hair, which has made it quite a challenge to nurse you. I always saw us maintaining a nursing relationship until at least a year, maybe 18 months. Now, I'm not really too sure what the future will hold. I'm proud that I've been able to breastfeed you for as long as I have with all that we've been through. I'm not throwing in the towel just yet but it is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

Even though you are a happy baby, you have cried a lot in the last month and you've been very needy. I feel so bad but I know that it's because of all the hard work your body is doing right now. First of all you have been teething HARD for two months! You got your first tooth the end of April (bottom middle right) and a week later (5/6) the one next to it (bottom middle left) made an appearance. 

Next your top eye teeth broke through (5/22) and now you're my little vampire baby.  Last week the tooth to the right on the bottom broke skin (6/6) and the next day the one to the left did (6/7). That's 6 teeth in less than 2 months! 

As if that weren't enough to deal with you've been busy growing! You shot from 21" to 26" by two months old and then stayed that height/length up until your 5 month appointment. Yesterday you measured 28", a 2" growth. You're in the 90th percentile for height. You also weighed in at 21 lbs. which is in the 93rd percentile. Last week you moved into size 4 diapers. Big boy!

Your mind has also been busy developing as you've been learning and mastering new skills. In early May we started practicing with you sitting up more. Now you can sit up and play completely unassisted for as long as you want. You've started sitting in high chairs and shopping carts when we're out. We also moved you to a convertible (bigger but still rear facing) carseat and traded our travel system for a jogging stroller. You absolutely love being outdoors and we go for walks and/or to the park several days a week. You love the swings more every time we go! You hate being constrained to your carseat, though. I sing to distract you while I'm strapping you in but you try to burst out the moment I try to get you unhooked to get out which is oftentimes counter productive. 
In early May you started army crawling and rolling all over but you took it to another level while we were in Northern California. Heather's family has a dog and cats and you learned to move around quickly to get over to them. When we got home we had to get to baby proofing (finally) immediately because you're all over and into everything! You will get up to all fours and rock back and forth. Yesterday you even got in the downward dog position a couple of times. It's only a matter of time before you're full on crawling. The doctor thinks you'll be walking before a year. He also said that you have "superior motor skills" which has just confirmed our long time suspicion that you are advanced. ;)
Because of all the growth, teething, and traveling your sleep has been all over the place. You took over a week adjusting to being home and back in your crib. You just wanted to sleep with me. One of the things we've done to baby proof our apartment is to get a TV stand which is now where your changing table used to be. We moved it over and put your crib in the bedroom. I have absolutely no idea why I fought this for so long. We all sleep infinitely better with you in the room and Daddy and I are able to enjoy the television in the living room once you're down for the night. You became somewhat of a cat napper last month but the last few days have been a bit better. You seem to have gone from two long naps to three again but I have no clue how long it will last. 

You're waking between 8:00 and 8:30 since we got back (which I much prefer to 7:00). You take a short nap around 9:30/10:00 and another nap around 1:00. The last two days you've gone down for your third and longest nap around 4:00, waking around 6:00. It works out perfectly because then you get to spend a couple of hours with Daddy before you go to bed for the night. You've been going to bed around 8:00 and sleeping a few hours at a time. You're only half awake when you cry out and I dream feed you before you drift off to sleep again. Sometime after midnight I bring you to the bed where you sleep the rest of the night with us. We have a king size bed where none of us have to touch if we don't want to and yet you have to be touching me. You practically lay on top of me or with your head up in my arm pit. You're quite the bed hog too, sometimes sleeping diagonally. We're getting really good sleep these days, though. Last night you went 5 hours between nursing which is great for you us.

I mentioned it before, but you LOVE to be outdoors. If we spend too much time inside you become stir crazy and cranky. It's important to me to expose you to nature as much as possible and I hope you grow up to love it as much as I do. We visit new parks all the time, you and I. I love that we explore and experience Georgia together like this. It makes it even more special to me. I love weekends when Daddy can join us. These photos are from this last week at parks we frequent the most for walking - Chastain Park and Murphey Candler Park.
You love music. If a tune comes on that you like you start to bob your head and wiggle your butt. It's really cute! You have a major crush on Genevieve Goings from Choo Choo Soul on the Disney Channel which doesn't surprise me one bit. It's like Soul Train for babies and she's a pretty girl! People never believe me how you crush on her until they see you. You stop whatever you're doing to turn and face the TV whenever she comes on. Your face lights up when you see her and you look to me and smile. 

You teethe on just about anything you can get your hands on these days (including me if I let you) but you love your frozen teethers and plastic spoons the best. Auntie Heather turned you on to that one. You're also obsessed with your feet. You like to hold onto them and to put them in your mouth. Ha!

You love your books and your favorites are Trains Go and Goodnight Moon, especially if Daddy is reading them because he does silly voices and turns words into lyrics.

Playtime is pretty fun these days but more than any toy you love to wrestle and play this game that you made up. You mostly play it with Mommy but you've started playing with Daddy too. You start by making out with me. Yes, making out! You pull my face into yours by gripping my hair and pulling me forward. It's seriously hard to get away because you have a strong grip! Your mouth is usually open and you go crazy trying to lick me, all while squealing and screaming. It usually progresses to me growling and wrestling you over to your back while tickling you. Daddy and I can't believe you like this game so much. It seems like something a child much older than you would do! I have GOT to get a video of this before you stop. Earlier in the month you spent about a week spitting (blowing raspberries and letting spit just fall out of your mouth or spitting outwards) which I'm glad is over. For several weeks you did the most adorable sniff face while you breathed in and out heavily from your nose. I'm kinda bummed you stopped that. That's why I need to get the make out/wrestle sessions on video! 

It's been such a fun 6 months. I'm so happy and proud to be your Mama (which by the way you've said several times but always while crying out and not intentional yet... I don't think)!! 

I love you more every single day,

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