Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuff-man: 6 Month Update

Wow! So much has happened in the past month. It’s just so fun to watch him grow and start putting things together in his mind. No 2+2=4 yet… LOL… But we are definitely on our way there. It is something new every day. He is really starting to get into his toys. I have to admit, he didn’t really have anything to play with until a couple weeks ago. A butt-load of books, a couple empty water bottles, a Green Sprouts teether, a couple giraffes and some soft blocks… that’s the long list! I went to a friend’s house while out of town and saw Keegan’s eyes light up with all the toys, and then the light went off in my head – the boy needs something to stimulate his curious mind! So I did what any sane mother would do, went ape-sh*t crazy on… LOL!

So here are a couple fun updates that make 6 months so much fun…

1.       Solids – We were a little apprehensive about starting him on solids. At 5 months, we tried rice cereal and it was not a pleasant experience. So we waited a couple of weeks and I jumped head first into some research on first foods to feed baby. We tried again a couple weeks later with yellow squash, and it was a success! Now only a few weeks later, our son is a total foodie… His faves right now are any kind of squash (yellow, zucchini, pumpkin, and spaghetti), avocado and carrots. We tried bananas, but he wasn’t really into it. So we’ll bring it back in a few weeks. We just made our first batch of prune puree, which will be given in very small quantities, but we feel is necessary to keep him regular (and they are super healthy). We had decided early on that we would make our own baby food, and it has been very rewarding to be able to do this for him. This is very close to my heart, especially since I did not have the means to breastfeed. So taking the extra time to make sure that the food he puts in his mouth is fresh and organic is very important to me, and my husband. Thank God for my husband, for without which we would not have the garden where we grow our own vegetables.
(After a Whole Foods run... Our garden is not quite producing this much, yet)

(1 oz of each: zucchini, banana, avocado)

"Am I going to have to feed myself?"

(Yummy, carrot face!)

2.       Sitting up all on his own – He loves just sitting around. He reaches for things and pops back up, he picks up his toys and plays and loves the view. He’ll tip over and roll around and scoot and lunge across the floor, and it is so much fun just watching him. I surround him with his favorite toys just out of reach, and I watch those wheels just turning in that head of his. I wonder what he’s thinking as he sees the spread I have for him. I love how he’ll be playing there and every once in a while he’ll look up at me and give this huge smile. Like he’s letting me know he’s having a great time and “look what I’m doing Momma” face. His expressions are so sweet, I pray they stay like that always.

3.       Oral fixation – Everything… EVERYTHING… goes in the mouth. Toys, fingers, feet, clothes, diapers (clean of course), TV remote, the dog… this list is endless, of course. But his favorite is still my hands. He can be sitting on my lap and my hand is just beside him, and he will take it and hug it and put it on his face and then, of course, into his mouth. Another favorite is my face. I’ll be playing with him and he puts his sweet hands on my face and lunges for the first facial feature available (usually my nose or forehead). This is probably why I stayed sick for 3 weeks, I couldn’t help but let him drool all over my face and hands, and then didn’t wash my hands enough.

4.       He recognizes faces AND voices – When my mother or my Granny call and I put them on speaker phone, his face lights up. People have told me that it’s just because he likes the sound, but I think they can kiss my @$$. He knows! Especially my Granny, he L.O.V.E.S. his Granny… and why not. She was my favorite person growing up too J

5.       He is affectionate – He is truly a snuggle bug sometimes. My favorite time is when I bath him. I sit him on the counter in the bathroom facing the mirror, and I stand behind him with my arms beside him kind of leaning over him. He will “kiss” himself in the mirror and watch as his mirror hand touches his real hand and is mesmerized. But every couple of minutes, he turns his head around to look me in the face, and then leans into me. He will grab my forearms with both his hands and “snuggle”. It melts my heart.
(Grabbing and holding Daddy's face)

(Playing with Mommy's feet, with his feet... so sweet)

6.       White boy can jump – All I have to say is the phrase speaks for itself. One of my splurges was this jumper, and it was worth every penny. See for yourself …

7.       He has a lovey – I actually didn’t think he would take a lovey. I tried to introduce several to him and he just wasn’t interested in them. But one night after reading him his book, I noticed he was reaching over my shoulder at a giraffe blankee that I draped over the back of the rocker. It’s small and light weight, so I gave it to him and laid him down in bed. Amazing! He clung onto it like it was his best friend and drifted off to sleep rubbing it, like they had always been together. It blew my mind. Now he finds it, where ever it is in the bed, and snuggles with it. It’s either laying next to him or under him, and he plays peek-a-boo with it in the middle of the night.

6 month stats:
Weight: 18.1 lbs
Height: 27.5 in
Head: 17.5 in
Favorite Toy: Soft blocks and soft book
Favorite Lovey: Giraffe blankie
Favorite Food: Squash
Schedule: Up at about 6am, asleep by 7:30pm
Naps: about 2 x 1.25 hour naps a day, plus maybe a short nap in the morning

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A couple bugs and a hurricane...

The past two months have been a whirlwind of changes, milestones, scary situations, hurricanes and excitement. I’ve had several people ask me if I stopped blogging or if I was going to post any more… Honestly, after the hurricane, sickness took over my son and I and we are just coming back to life. A consequence of all the chaos was writer's elbow. I just haven’t known where to even start.  So, I’ll just begin with baby's first cold and try to make it short (“TRY” being the key word) so we can get on to my next post, Keegan’s 6 month update!

Snot! Mucous! Phlegm! Wheezing! This has been my life since July 27th. I remember this date because it’s the first time I brought him to the pediatrician for his first “cold”. To this day, he has had a runny nose or some kind of congestion. Some days are better than others, some days are pretty rough. But he is the toughest little guy I know, and has come through the past 2 months like the li’l champ that he is… still happy and thriving. We’ve been through a roller coaster of ailments, from a cold to allergies to bronchiolitis. We even had a little visit to the emergency room (not the best night, but the other patients made sure we were thoroughly entertained and disgusted). Conclusions so far on this 2 month funk fest, Tuff apparently inherited his daddy’s bad allergies. When he is snotty, he needs to be suctioned out hourly (if not more often) when awake to keep his passageways clear. If his nose runs down the back of his throat for too long, his breath begins to smell funky (a sign of post-nasal drip in babies), and a couple days later his chest is congested causing bronchiolitis (an infection which affects the tiny airways, called bronchioles, that lead to the lungs causing the airways to become inflamed, making breathing difficult). This is something my husband had frequently as a child, and could be hereditary.

Another culprit is the fact that he is in daycare, and kids in daycare catch 4x’s as many colds as babies who are not in daycare. This statistic is fine with me, because he is building up his little immune system. More colds now, less later in life (hopefully). Unfortunately, when he has a cold, if his nasal passages are not suctioned constantly and kept clear, it drains into his chest and within 48 hours he is wheezing. I cannot expect the daycare to suction his nose every hour, I understand that my son is not the only child there. In fact, I picked him up from daycare yesterday and there where at least 3 kids being picked up with runny noses and parents talking about how they just can’t shake these little viruses. I wanted to hug one mom while she was talking about her poor baby girl getting better for a few days and then waking up congested AGAIN and how this has been going on for two months. I had been really hard on myself for weeks thinking that I had to be doing something wrong for my son to be sick for this long, but hearing her aggravation comforted me in a way. I knew her pain, because it was mine too. So I decided to give myself a break.
(Murfy helping keep Tuff's nose clean)

RELIEF: We’ve been sick for 2 months (yes, me too, eventually my son passed me enough colds to give me bronchitis and walking pneumonia) and so many remedies, both natural and medicinal, have been used to get some relief and clear our heads (literally). Here’s a list of what has helped us the most:
1.       Nasal suction: Yep, the little bulbs they give you in the hospital. One should be in every room. Pretending it’s a fun game has gone a long way in our house. Tuff giggles and laughs (most times) while we are sucking the funk out his little nose.
2.      Saline spray/mist: Especially in the mornings, when the snot has been chilling out all night and chunked up in the nasal cavity, this magical liquid works wonders. Morning routine here lately: Mist each nostril, change diaper while mist is loosening everything up, and then suction until everything is out of there. Sometimes, I will mist one more time in each nostril and leave it to help break up anything that might be running down his throat.
3.       Boogie Wipes: I thought these where totally bogus when I used to see my friends use them on their children. Why spend money on a wet wipe? Totally busted… These are “saline wipes” and make short work of a crusted upper lip and nose. The grape scented ones smell AMAZING!
4.      Steam: If the congestion starts to get in the chest, turning on the hot water in the shower and letting him play on the floor or in the sink with some water for about 15 minutes makes a HUGE difference. You can actually hear the congestion breaking up…
5.      Eucalyptus: This amazing essential oil makes breathing in a steamy bathroom much easier, and as your baby inhales and exhales that minty steam it opens up his little passageways. This helped us both out so much before bedtime…
6.      Cool Mist Humidifier: First tip with this machine (especially with filterless machines) is to use distilled water. Next tip is to clean it out EVERYDAY!!! If you don’t believe me, fill up the container with your tap water and let it run until it’s gurgling. Take it apart and see how much bacteria and mold is lacing the edges and floating in the remaining water. This is what your child is breathing in and out all night long! You can purchase vapor pads for the machine, or you can put a drop of the eucalyptus oil on the pad to help them breathe easier throughout the night.

We have also started tuff on some antihistamine/decongestant drops to help with his allergies. I also went ahead and told the nurse to give him the flu shot at our 6 month visit. We are on a delayed immunization schedule, but with the way things have been going, I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the flu. Now enough of all this sick talk…

Bug bites are freaking scary! Not only is he having to fight a little respiratory bug, but he’s having to fight real bugs too. Still not sure what the hell bit him, but my poor baby has been through the ringer. Finally, two weeks later, his cheek is getting back to its milky white texture again (thank GOD for my little baby aloe plant). Now enough of all this sick talk…

Hurricane Issac came to town… twice actually! This was our first hurricane with the baby. I know many people had tremendous damage and turmoil during this storm, but fortunately, we were not one of them. Yes, we had a lot of water in our yard from 3 days of constant rain; and we had a lot of debris in our front and back yard (limbs, leaves, trash, etc.). But that was the extent of our damage. We never lost power and amazingly never lost our DirectTV service (which is insane). It was actually a good time for us. We got to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. We even went out for a ride to get out of the house after the storm had past and got a little footage of the surrounding destruction… and we were thankful that our little family was kept safe. I will admit, I checked on Tuff several times throughout the 2 nights the storm was coming through. I kept having dreams of the tree falling on his room… Stupid brain drama! What’s important is that we have made it through all of this and he has been the best sport about all of it. Always with a smile on his face J So we must be doing something right!

Finally vacation time!!! We are going to the beach this week. I absolutely cannot wait, we have not been on a relaxing vacation since we got married 2 ½ years ago. We are constantly traveling with Tuff, so we are confident he will be good for the drive. Although, we will be traveling late in the afternoon, so we hope he can sleep most of the way. I can’t wait to see his face when he touches the sand and sees the ocean and feels the waves come up on the beach. The beach holds a very special place in my heart. We used to go a couple times every summer with my grandparents until I graduated highschool. Nothing fancy, just cheap motels along the main strip in Biloxi, but it was what I looked forward to all school year long. I’m always so inspired after coming back from a beach vacation, and I feel at peace looking out into the big blue and feeling the warm ocean water on my ankles and the sand between my toes. As much as my little nugget loves the water, I know he is going to grow to love and respect it as much as I do.

Incredible things have been taking place with my little man. I can’t wait to share his 6 month update. Everything is changing so fast, and even through all the commotion and ailments, we are moving through at a pretty smooth pace. Can’t say any more now, I will save all the juicy bits for his 6 month update which will be posted tomorrow J YAY!