Sleeping Habits

Side Note: Ironically, the moment I started to write about this, Gregory *almost* woke up from his nap prematurely. Whew!

Those of you who are parents know that there are several “hot topic” issues out there. Natural vs. Hospital Birth. VACCINES (oh, goodness, if you haven’t encountered this one…be careful, that’s all I have to say…). Breastfeeding vs. Formula.

Sleep Training is one of those. I never took it very seriously before having Gregory. I mean, I read a few books and articles here and there. But I just figured I had enough on my plate for the time being. I decided to deal with it when the situation called for it.

Oh. My. Word. It’s a hot topic button for a reason! With the rare exception of a few, babies do NOT know how to get or stay asleep! Sure, those first few days of being a newborn might fool you– they don’t stay awake more than 10 minutes at a time, and you think to yourself, “Awesome! I got one of those rare Sleeping Babies!”. Then, by the time they’re a week old, you’re crying your eyes out, wondering if he’ll ever sleep again! It’s hard to maintain perspective about an issue when you’re going on 2 hours of sleep!

Not to mention the added pressure of what happens if you don’t establish a feeding schedule. For example, all of the books advise feeding the baby as often as possible those first few days– otherwise, you won’t produce enough milk when it finally comes in. If you can’t keep an infant awake long enough to have a full meal, he will only be getting foremilk (as opposed to the hindmilk) and won’t gain weight properly!

It’s also a hot topic because it’s so polarized. There’s not a lot of compromise or flexibility for most. THEY know the right way. That other guy, writing that other book? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Moms who follow THAT method will wind up with psychopathic children who shoot people, all because they were allowed to cry it out!

Anyone who says there is ONE right way is only trying to sell more copies of their book. How could there be just one right way? Babies are human beings, and, as such, have their own distinct strengths and weaknesses! Not to mention the fact that every family is different. There is no “one size fits all” sleep method!

A few weeks ago, I got so desperate about this particular issue, I ordered a few books. Dr. Sears book on Attachment Parenting, the No Cry Sleep Method. I already owned a copy of Babywise (one of the few I read beforehand) and Happiest Baby on the Block (which we discussed in our birth classes). I looked up articles, reviews, discussion boards, learning the pros and cons of each.

I think I’ve come to a few conclusions. Some babies love schedules and really benefit from the security they provide. I don’t think Gregory is one of them. At least, not yet. Whenever we have a rough day, it’s usually because I’ve been trying to force him into a schedule in order to get stuff done.

But I can’t exactly “wing it”, responding only to his cues. If he had his way, he’d be awake FOREVER. One book said that an infant has a hard time staying awake for more than two hours. Gregory can stay awake for five, EASY. Will he be happy for all five hours? Absolutely not– he’s miserable! He’s so tired, his eyes are even closed as he whimpers or whines. But the moment he will start to drift off, he’ll purposely wake himself up, usually by grunting or struggling. It’s almost as if he’s saying, “I can’t BELIEVE I almost let myself fall prey to The Sleep!” Plus, he is really aware of whatever we’re up to, and can’t STAND being left out of the action. Jesse literally whispers/chants in his ear, “Nothing’s going on. We’re just doing boring stuff. You’re not missing anything” in order to get G to fall asleep. For a while, I thought we might be letting him get “over tired”, preventing him from falling asleep. That is true, much of the time. But definitely not all the time!

Many of the books say to make sure the baby falls to sleep on his own, without parental aid. This, they say, teaches the baby not to become dependent. No rocking chairs, swings, vibrating bouncy seats, pacifiers, you name it. Courtney and I were discussing this, and we realized that a mom who buys into this theory wholesale could be making life pretty hellish for a few months. If one is so afraid to take advantage of these tried and proven methods of helping a baby learn to soothe himself, he/she might be missing out on the very tool that could help them keep their sanity!

And there is no guarantee that the baby WILL get hooked on a method. I WISH Gregory would get hooked to something! If it were as easy as buying lots and lots of C Batteries, I’D DO IT! But it’s not. One nap, he’ll only fall asleep by being rocked in his swing. The next, that very thing makes him mad as hell. Sleeping on his back in the pack n play works fairly often, but it’s hit and miss. Pacifier? Sometimes, it’s like a magic button that makes his eyes close. Sometimes, the sucking action is what is keeping him awake, and he’ll spit it out angrily!

I have identified a few things that work, thus far. Babywise Method, while being accused of “child abuse” due to infant dehydration (truly, I meant it when I said hot topic issue! One guy even created a website devoted to “taking down” the guy who wrote it, calling him a child abuser of the worst kind!), is on to something when it comes to the Nurse-Awake-Sleep pattern of things. Gregory nurses better when he’s fully awake, which in turn helps him get rid of a lot of gas/burps while he’s awake. He’s happy and well-fed for his Awake phase.

The times associated with each phase are just what I can’t seem to get Gregory to agree to. They say 1.5 hour nap? Gregory says 45 minutes. They say 1/2 hour of awake time? Gregory says 2. Eating every 3 hours? During a growth spurt (like now), Gregory wants to eat every 1.5 hours!! I didn’t say “snack”– I said EAT. Many would criticize this, saying “on demand” feeding doesn’t give the infant adequate nutrition since they only get the foremilk at every feeding. But another method went so far as to say that the baby should sleep with a topless mom every night so that they can have access whenever they want, without even having to wake the mom! Good grief–who’s right?

I guess, in the end, the goal is for both mom and baby to get a good night’s sleep. On that front, I can’t complain. Gregory sleeps GREAT at night, and, as a result, he is a much easier baby to deal with during the day. He goes to bed around 10pm, wakes up at 1am for a nighttime feeding (which is about when I’m going to bed, so it works out quite nicely!), then will sleep for 5-6 hours!! After his early morning feeding, usually around 6-7am, he will sleep for another 4 hours. By the time he’s awake in the morning, he’s happy as a clam!! If I play my cards right, I can actually count on getting between 6-8 hours of sleep every night.

And if not? Well, I invested in great coffee.

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Midnight Fiasco

Last night, we had dinner with our good friends, Carissa and Photius (Jenny’s sister and brother-in-law). They, along with their three beautiful children (ages 5,3, 1/2 year) are up in New York at St. Vladmir’s Theological Seminary, where we plan on going someday (soon?). So we had plenty to talk about!

I stole these pics from Carissa's Facebook page. Look how big Genevieve is now!

And Isaac! Not a baby anymore! 😦

For dinner, I made pea soup from scratch, using some of the leftover ham we had from our Christmas dinner. I also put together my fav type of salad– gorgonzola, granny smith apples with walnuts and almonds! Carissa brought home-made Beer Bread since she has special dietary restrictions due to breastfeeding Ian (their youngest).

They got here at around 6pm and we talked forever! At around 11:30, we all realized how late it was, despite the fact that the oldest kiddos were quite content with all the Veggie Tales dvds we have (hand-me-down gift from piano students!). The kids put on their coats and boots and hats, seeing as it was 35 degrees and raining last night. We thanked them for coming, wished them well in their last semester at Seminary, and watched all 5 of them file out into the rainy night.

A few seconds later, the doorbell rang.

I opened the door. Isaac, their 5 year old, was wailing dramatically, “Our van is goooonnnneee!!! It’s LOOOSSSTT!!!” He was sobbing and absolutely distraught.

Carissa explained the situation– apparently, Photius had parked in a covered spot. During their 5.5 hours visiting with us, the van had been towed.

They called the number listed for the towing company. Fortunately, they were open 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, the impound lot was in the middle of a BAD part of Arlington. And it was going to be $240 to get the van out.

Carissa and I went upstairs with the kids while Jesse drove Photius down to where the impound lot was. We put on Beauty and the Beast for the kids and gave them pillows and blankets (as it was close to 12:00am…very late for young kiddos!).

Half an hour later, we got a call from the boys. The impound lot would not release the car, seeing as it is registered to Jenny’s DAD.

We brainstormed for a minute. There was no way we could lend them a car to get back to where they were staying at Jenny’s parents in Rockwall (50 minutes away) because I only have 2 carseats. All three of hers are still in carseats, seeing as the whole family is quite petite (Jonathan Unruh is bigger than their 6 month old baby).

There was no choice but to call Jenny’s dad and have him drive on out from Rockwall. Again, that’s a 50 minute drive. In the middle of the night, no less.

At around 1:30 am, the boys made it back with the van. Mr. Conley had not only driven out in the middle of the night, he had also paid for the van to get picked up, which was funny, considering Carissa had just joked that they should’ve asked for a impound lot gift certificate for Christmas. The boys were pretty good humored about the whole thing– describing the sketchy part of town (complete with hookers and loan sharks) and how the whole incident had occurred because Photius had been honest and upfront about the fact that it wasn’t their vehicle (otherwise, they never would’ve checked!!).

But alls well that ends well. We had a great night with friends that we haven’t seen in a year and gained valuable insight as to what seminary-life entails. Hopefully, Isaac won’t be afraid to visit us again!

“Giving” is the spirit of the season

As is considered “appropriate” by our culture, I’ve been reflecting on the nature of “giving” during this season.

This reflection also corresponds with what I’ve been thinking concerning the term, “giving birth”. I always tossed around that turn of phrase because there aren’t a lot of other ones to describe the process of shooting a baby out of one’s birth canal.

But it does seem curious that it’s called “giving” birth. What exactly is one giving? Life? No, that was given by God at the moment of conception.

Also, one calls to mind Genesis, where the pain of child birth was part of the curse given to Adam and Eve.

I asked Jesse what he thought. He says that “an entrance” is being given. An entrance into a new way of life for the baby.

As I look back on the experience, I’d have to say that in giving an entrance to G, I think I gave something even greater– myself. The experience was like nothing I’ve ever been through. Perhaps the pain I felt was unique to my situation– G’s awkward position, my fatigue, the fact that I don’t exactly have “child bearing hips”– but it was so different and so AWFUL, I had weird flashbacks for days afterward. One minute I would be eating lunch with Jesse, the next I was stuck inside my head, completely reliving some horrific moment of the birth. Even my body could remember the pain– the way the contractions felt like someone was taking my hip bones and cracking them in half, over and over again for hours and hours (although all that was occurring was sudden expansion). The helplessness of vomiting amidst contractions– both of which perpetuate the pain of the other because they involve ab muscles that are stretched thinly across a huge belly. Having one of the most sensitive areas of the human body stretched beyond capacity (lovingly termed, “The Ring of Fire”), whilst being yanked on by a midwife. Being cut and then sewn up.The back labor that felt like steak knives being shoved into my lower back (probably about when my tailbone cracked). I’ve been through a lot of miserable experiences in my life, including broken bones, weird diseases from Paris that made my intestines bleed from the inside, root canals where the pain meds wore off, wisdom tooth extraction with only a local anesthetic (which wore off as he was cracking the tooth out!). Each of them was awful, and I pray to God I don’t have to go through any of them again. They just do not, can not, compare. It’s like looking at the difference between apples and oranges.

The ONLY way I think a woman survives childbirth is by an absolute giving of oneself. Dying to self, and giving it to another. Getting through each contraction was a challenge, because by the end of that 60 seconds, I was so torn apart and exhausted from the pain, I was convinced I could no longer do it. I would tell Jesse, “I’m DONE. I can’t do that again”, and less than a minute later, another would happen. We repeated that process 180 more times, as the hours wore on. And I was still doing it, going above and beyond into a pain tolerance I didn’t know I had. I’m convinced that the only way I did it was by focusing on G. Focusing 100% on the fact that this was the only way to get him out and safely in our arms. Forgetting about myself and the pain he was causing me and just honing in on doing the best thing for my baby. I think that’s what made the crowning– what I thought was going to be the most painful part– the easiest of all. He was so close to being with us, and my task was so clear and so tangible.

It really does work. Once you’ve died to yourself, the pain just doesn’t register any longer. There is no tomorrow, there is no, “I can’t wait until this is over!”. There is only the moment. I think the term “giving birth” could really be a description of the giving of the mother to her baby. It’s good practice, because things are no longer about you. The day doesn’t get planned around your needs, but around the needs of the baby. There are times when I will realize that I haven’t eaten, showered, or even gone to the bathroom in nearly a day! Much less done any dishes or laundry!

You would think, after all this, that I would somehow feel like G owed me something. Like I had given him this big gift, the gift of birth. Just like that blog post of Dooce’s, I thought I would always have a trump card of some sort. “You don’t want to pay for my nursing home? Yeah, well, I WENT THROUGH 21 HOURS OF HELL FOR YOU!!”

And yet, it’s worked in exactly the opposite manner. I look at him, and I can’t believe that I’ve been given such a gift. I can’t believe that he’s all my and Jesse’s responsibility and that we get that privilege. In looking back on my life last Christmas, where I was distraught over still being “baby-less”, life is so much richer, so much fuller. That moment of meeting G for the first time was the greatest thing I could ever ask for. Jesse and I have done a lot of reflecting on how we have VERY little money to spend on each other this season (I think the grand total for all his presents is less than $40! A record low for me!). And yet, we feel just fine about it. Our Christmas gift is already here, unwrapped (and often undiapered!).

In fact, these last 2.5 months of being a mother have been so fulfilling, so rewarding, that I can’t wait to have more kids!  I literally can’t get the thought out of my head– I dream all the time of having a house full of kids someday! It’s as though a whole new world of meaning and possibility opened before me. Before G, my life was about Jesse and I, fulfilling our ambitions and our dreams. Yes, we still have them. But I’ve realized that even if I do NOTHING else with my life other than be a mother, I’m okay! That realization comes with the release of 24 years worth of stress and anxiety. I’ve always been stubbornly running from “something” towards another “something”– now, for the first time in my life, I feel at peace. I always thought that I was “too ambitious” to be tied down by motherhood– now, I realize that it has set me free.

It also causes me to reflect on what Mary, the Mother of God must have gone through in those months following “giving birth” to Jesus. I’ve been forever changed on a deep and spiritual level by being the mother of an ordinary human being– how much more was Mary changed by being the mother of the Son of God? She got to die to herself every day in order to raise that baby. She got to do on a literal level what we all strive for every day– to die to ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. I think Scripture is very clear about the fact that this great blessing can only come after we have died to ourselves. You can’t have the blessings of a baby without first dying to yourself through the “giving” of birth. You can’t be set free until you’ve let go of yourself.

So, perhaps “giving birth” isn’t a gift to the child, but to the mother. Perhaps the “curse” was less of a punishment and more of a prescription, the giving of this “entrance” to the mother. An entrance into a different life, a better life. One filled with the blessings of sacrificing for another every day.

 

 

The Best Present

I already wrote about the presents we received from the Cones in the mail yesterday.

One package was straight from Target.com, already gift wrapped inside the box.

I would like to confess…I opened it…

In my defense, when I pulled it out of the shipping box one corner was already unwrapped (honestly!). So I saw the brand. Which gave me a pretty good idea of what it was. A white noise machine for lil G.

I was so excited. I’ve been wanting one of these things for a while now. G has been having a hard time taking naps during the day. He goes down really easily, but is awake in 45 minutes. Not fussy– AWAKE. The sleeptime book I read (note: the Hot Topic of Sleeping Theories I will save for another post…soon…) mentioned that babies need 1.5 hour naps in order to feel rested afterwards. It also mentioned the “45 Minute Interlocutor” . They don’t give any sort of helpful hints on that front, other than a sort of “sucks to be you if that happens”-attitude!

I think I can count on ONE HAND the # of times G has taken a nap longer than 45 minutes. I’ve tried everything to get him to go longer, to no avail.

In the back of my mind, I knew that white noise would help. We have a trick we learned from the Unruhs– the receiver of a baby monitor makes static when there is no monitor. Unfortunately, our receiver was picking up other babies in the complex. In the middle of the night, it would be “ssshhhhhh” static, and then, all of a sudden, we would hear babies crying and mothers talking to them. Kinda creepy…

By the time Jesse got home, I’d decided we were going to open the present. I NEED it, I thought. G NEEDS IT. He is such a happy baby after he has a good sleep! I think his fussiness in the early evening is a direct result of a day’s worth of exhaustion.

I have to say, it’s been WONDERFUL. We turned it to “heartbeat” and placed it under his swing. He slept 4 solid hours in the evening, and then 5 more hours directly after. SO UNLIKE HIM. And then we’ve already had two naps wherein he made it over an hour!

We’ll see how the rest of the day goes, but for right now, I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH! Also, to every pregnant woman out there– a white noise machine is one of the most important things you can register for, next to swaddle blankets and pacifiers. You will thank me, I promise.

End of Semester

I got my grades in today. An A- in my Conrad course, and a B+ in my Trivium class. I’m kinda bummed about the second grade, but I should be happy that I made it through in one piece. Those tests were hard for me– especially the Logic section, seeing as a) Logic is not my strong point! and b) I missed 3 of the 7 classes on it, since I was having a baby, and all. So even though I got As on all my written work, it wasn’t enough to counteract the Bs that I got on the 3 midterm tests.

So that’s it for my Grad classes, giving me a cumulative 3.75 GPA total for my graduate career. Unless….

I’ve been debating getting a Masters in English instead of a Masters of ARTS in English. The difference? I’d take 2 classes instead of writing a thesis. And I’d have until April to take my comp test.

I’m not sure what the disadvantages would be, other than academic prestige, of which I care nothing for. The advantages would be that I think I would learn more from taking two classes, one of which would be an Advanced Latin course, than I would from writing 50 pages about the Sonnets that no one that I know would ever read or understand. An Advanced Latin course would look great on my resume for the type of schools I’m looking at someday applying to teach for (it would basically give me enough units to also qualify as a Latin teacher). Also, I could take a class covering a section of literature I haven’t covered, giving me greater depth.

I guess the disadvantage would be scheduling with G. Writing a thesis has a little bit more flexibility to it. Most of the classes I’d want to take would be in the middle of the day, so no help there!

I guess we’ll have to see!

Christmas Cone-Style

We got presents from the Cones in the mail today! It’s so nice to finally have presents under the tree 🙂 Makes it look “legit”, somehow!

 

My Job

I ran across this posting today. It was a job listing for a nanny position:

Daily Duties

• Daily care of the infant, to include feeding & changing etc.
• Developing and executing a consistent feeding and sleeping schedule for the baby
• Communicating with the parents about the baby’s schedule and well-being
• Providing innovative and fun early educational and intellectual stimulation – from taking the baby to the park to singing lullabies.
• House keeping, laundry and occasional grocery shopping

Experience/Skills/Characteristics

• Experience with children aged 6 months to 5 years is essential
• Background in education or childhood development preferred
• Candidate must be energetic, flexible, and positive
• Candidate must have strong communication skills and regularly update the parents about the baby’s schedule and well-being
• Immaculate presentation

In general, I dislike the thought of fulltime “nannies”. I know it is, for all intents and purposes, our society’s version of a “governness”, but I don’t think I get that either. Since when did being a mother or father mean passing off the burden of responsibility to someone else? I think it creates a set-up for disaster– the nanny is the parent for 75% of the day. The parent, once they “re-enter” the child’s world, back from doing whatever important thing it is they were doing, doesn’t want to spend their 25% disciplining or being the bad guy. So they act like the child’s best friend, undermining the authority of the nanny.

Besides the fluctuating rules and disciplinary styles, the child’s world also isn’t secure because the person they rely on most can skip out on them at any moment. Most positions require a 2-3 year commitment from the nanny, but how on earth does one enforce that? The job I almost took a few years ago nannying for a family in Fort Worth tried to get this kind of commitment from their nannies by not paying a huge chunk of the salary until the end of 2 years. But there is nothing tangible tying them to the kids. Truly. I have had deep seated attachments to children before– piano students who I’ve had for nearly 4 years, children I’ve babysat, even my three godchildren.

But they don’t even hold a candle to what I feel for Gregory. I would KILL people to protect him, and I truly mean that. Any parent knows exactly what I’m talking about. I once heard a dad at our church say that if any creep ever hurt his boys, he’d cut them into pieces. He wasn’t kidding either– he showed us his garage full of weapons. He said, “I’ll count on a sympathetic jury”. I just can’t fathom ever conjuring up this type of commitment for someone who’s not your child. Any nanny that even tries to form this type of connection with the kids will quickly be reminded of where they stand. Despite the fact that the nanny is acting as the parent for the majority of the time, the kid knows who the real parent is and will never love the nanny in the same way.

Sorry for my rant– I have a lot of friends who are nannies, and I truly sympathize and respect what it is they do. It’s one of the toughest jobs out there!

This posting, in particular, stood out because it validated what I spend my time doing during the day. It’s a LOT of work, caring for an infant! They have one way of communicating, and it takes real work and patience to figure out which cry means what. Luckily, Gregory rewards me with a smile or a sigh of contentment whenever I figure out what it is he’s upset about. Sometimes, it can take an hour or two before I figure it out, because that’s how long it takes to exhaust the options.

Take today for example: he was unusually fussy as he was falling asleep. I tried rocking him, because sometimes he’s just lonely and can’t put himself to sleep (many books would disagree…different post for THAT hot topic!). Once that didn’t work, I thought it could be gas, so I burped him for a few minutes, gave him some infant gas medicine, and waited for it to take effect. Nope, still fussy, and clearly getting more tired and exasperated. I tickled his cheek to see if he would “root” because he was hungry. Nope. Diaper? Nope.  Turned out, he was sweaty. The sleeper I had him in was fleece. Coupled with his fleece swaddle blanket, he was soaked in sweat. No wonder he was fussy!

But what stood out to me MOST about this job posting, is that the person writing it clearly understands that raising a child is a VERY important job. They also understand that raising an infant is even more serious, in some ways. They are the most helpless at that age– the smallest mistakes can have drastically grave consequences. I was once cuddling with Gregory on our bed and I got up to take off my sweater and put it away. It took all of 30 seconds. When I walked back into our room, Gregory had knocked over my pillow. It was laying right over his face, covering everything but his feet. I shudder to think of what could’ve happened if I’d been gone for a minute more! How could I ever explain to Jesse that my negligence killed our baby? The responsibility of raising a child is the most serious job I’ve ever undertaken, because a life hangs in the balance. My performance review doesn’t come with a $300 Christmas bonus, like some of the nannies I know– it comes with the relief and satisfaction of knowing I kept Gregory alive and healthy another day.

If this person is so aware of the responsibility, why on earth would they pass that off to someone else? What could be more important? It seems akin to the saying, “Save the world, but lose your soul.” What good does it do to conquer the corporate business world but lose the precious, once in a lifetime opportunity of raising your children and molding their souls? I grant– the business world is where some people belong. They were born to do that. Great. Just don’t have kids! Human beings are worth more than prestige.

Some would probably argue that they need the money to support their family, and working fulltime is a sad but necessary fact. I don’t buy it. The majority of people I know who are paying nannies to watch their kids are also making 2-3 car payments, buying boats, taking multiple cross country vacations a year, buying loads of expensive electronics. As Americans, we’ve been tricked into thinking the average family needs all these things, and they sacrifice time with their family in order to have them. Right now, Jesse and I are considering moving to a much smaller and cheaper place– perhaps even a one-bedroom apartment again! All so that I can spend a few more hours a week with Gregory and still put money into savings. It’s not worth that extra space to spend that time away from him.

Maybe I’m biased because both of my parents worked throughout my childhood, yet still had time to homeschool me. I never had a nanny– just an occasional babysitter who came over for a few hours here and there. I know it was a sacrifice, especially on my mom’s part, seeing as she had to work the night shift at the hospital so that she could be home while my dad was at work (I still don’t know when she ever slept!). But they made it to every sports game, coached a few teams, volunteered at school (when I did go), stayed home when we were sick, all the while making just enough money to cover the bills. I feel like it can be done– it just takes creativity.

All these are my thoughts as I process just what it means to stay home with Gregory each day. So much of his life depends on me. The impact of this statement hit me when I realized that Gregory is such a different baby now that I’m not stressed about school! He’s calmer, more alert and happy, because he’s feeding directly off of my emotions! How convicting!

Family Photos!

For those of you not on Facebook, our wonderful photographer/friend Katie took these family photos of us!

Baptism Photos

Baptism Photos are up! Check them out on Facebook!

2 Months Old!

Dear G,

You’ve now been with us for exactly 2 months and 1 day (or 9 weeks, however you want to look at it!). It’s incredibly hard to believe that you are growing so fast. Already, I look back at newborn pictures and can’t picture you being that small, red and wrinkly! Mommy cried when she had to fold up a few of your newborn sleepers and put them away, realizing you’d never wear them again. Now, you are rounding out, although you have yet to acquire any cute baby rolls. It’s not that mommy doesn’t feed you– you’re just always moving and burning calories!

Some of the things we love about you:

* Your beautiful eyes. You keep them open pretty much all the time now. They are such a pretty color of blue that mommy loves making them “pop” by dressing you in matching blue outfits. And they are so expressive, so full of personality. One of mommy’s professors saw the video of you smiling and said she was mesmerized by all that was going on behind your eyes. Another of my classmates said that his 2 year old couldn’t stop watching the video, she was so captivated by your expressions. We’d have to agree that we are too– we spend hours just staring at you!

Seriously, what a beautiful baby!

*Your personality. I love how passionate you are about everything. When you’re happy, you are laughing and giggling. When you’re unhappy, you cry so hard that you choke. It can be a bit intense for mommy, and she tells you that you’re only allowed to scream that hard if you’re on fire or missing an arm. But you are always in the moment, making 100% of whatever activity you’re engaged in. We love that about you and know where you got it from 😉

Smiles! Where'd that little dimple come from?

*You’re such a BOY! Already! You absolutely LOVE being naked. Literally– the diaper comes off, and giggles ensue. Your baptism was quite the hoot– two of your favorite things, being naked and church. If we’d given you a “nipple to go” you would’ve thought you’d died and gone to heaven. The pediatrician warned me this week that you might cry when we stripped you down to weigh and measure– instead, you were happy as a clam! Diaper changing time is now your favorite.

Some tummy time you weren't happy about!

Did I mention that you are ALWAYS moving? When you are happily content to sit by yourself in a bouncer seat, we watch you spread all four limbs and flail them wildly without stopping, sometimes for over half an hour! I get tired just watching. Whenever we change your diaper, you have one rogue leg that does helicopter circles all around the changing table, sticking your heel in the diaper, knocking over objects. It’s hard to get that leg to bend and go back in your sleeper.

All stretched out! Look how long!

I think all this activity is why your legs are still long and lean. In fact, your whole body is wiry, but strong. At your 2 month pediatrician appt., she put you on your tummy to see how well you lift your head. You not only lifted your head, but also pushed your knees up under you and started rocking back and forth like you wanted to crawl! The Dr. said we’d have to keep an eye on you.

Peacefully asleep

* Your discoveries: Just in last two weeks you’ve discovered toys and the fact that they make noise when you hit them. It surprises you every time. You’ve also discovered your fists and spend hours every day sucking on them with loud slurpy noises. Last night, you even discovered that you could grab the handle of your pacifier with one fist and then swing it around your head like a lasso. There was the added challenge of bringing the pacifier BACK to your mouth after pulling it out, but you were trying and almost succeeding! Quite advanced for a baby your age!

fists!

* You LOVE your daddy so much. He comes home, and you immediately calm down. 90% of the time, all he needs to do is put you on his chest and you relax and fall asleep. And you love it when he sings to you– you even try to sing along! You don’t know the words, but you make humming noises that you reserve strictly for when he is singing certain songs.

Daddy singing to you

Napping with daddy

* You LOVE church. It’s the best nap-inducer out there. Something about the music just calms all your normal anxieties and you become more passive and easy to please than ever before.

Peaceful at church

* You love to help mommy out. When she is burping you, you pat her back. When she is nursing you, you like to help squeeze your food out with both hands– it simply could not come fast enough for your hungry belly.

* You love to play games. We tickle your feet, play peek a boo, blow raspberries on your tummy. You don’t always understand what it is we’re doing, but you are definitely watching intently, trying to figure it all out.

We love you so much, Gregory. We can’t wait to celebrate our first Christmas with you in just a week!