Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Halfway to One!

We celebrate fractions over here.  Jack is now 5 3/4, Cora is 3 1/4, and Luke is "a half."

1. Happiness

Luke is a "joy baby" as his teacher says.  He radiates happiness, as in give him a smile and he'll squirm with happiness back :)

Luke wakes up happy.  He doesn't cry in the morning.  I'll often walk in to find him already awake just lying on his back waiting patiently for attention.  Other mornings, I'll wake to find the hall light on and Jack up reading books.  Luke's light is also sometimes on. If Jack hears him, he'll turn on his light and give him a few toys.  I like these self-sufficient boys!

2. What makes Luke unhappy

Being tired. When he's tired, he's tired and he pretty much only wants to be held (which he hopes means you are moving toward putting him in bed.)  

Our main challenge with Luke is that he's the world's best sleeper if you will follow his sleepy cues and put him to rest in a quiet place.  For five days in a row this month, he slept for about 6 hours of naps over the day.  But most other days, at day care, on busy Landry family days, on our Nashville trip, he's taken cat naps and shown that he doesn't fall asleep well when it's noisy, exciting, and not in his bed.  This means that he's often ready for bed quite early (like even 6:00 or 5:30) because he's not getting the sleep he needs during the daytime.

We're troubleshooting over here, but luckily, see item #1 - he's still a very happy guy.

3. Diet

I proudly offer exhibit A to show how my baby loves him some breast milk!  The evidence is in the thighs :)

We are two weeks in to offering other foods.  Just like Jack and Cora, the first people food we offered Luke was sweet potatoes.  We are going to mainly go the Baby Led Weaning route and offer Luke foods similar to what the rest of the family is eating (rather than making purees.)  The thought is that it will empower him to continue to control his own intake and determine how much he wants to eat at each meal.

He had roasted sweet potato wedges (plain - not even any olive oil) on day one and roasted squash wedges on day two.  The next few days were busy and Luke didn't get any big people offerings.  Then we took him on a grand adventure to Nashville which expedited his foray into the culinary world.  But I think he was too young for the excitement as everything we gave him (a biscuit from the Loveless Cafe, cheese grits from Biscuit Love (if you are ever in Nashville, GO HERE!), hummus from Epice), he couldn't seem to figure out how to get off his tongue.  The food would just sit there while he made horrified faces :)  And then eventually he spit it back up - usually on us :)  He did seem to enjoy the blackberry that came with my dessert.  He likes to suck, but is not yet sure what to do with food in his mouth.  I well remember how this eating thing takes TIME!
I think that is broccoli on your head Luke :)

4. Personality


5. Stats

19 lbs 3 oz at 6 months
He's our smallest baby at 6 months as silly as that sounds :)

He has his big brother's fairness and sensitive skin. He has his sister's precious little nose and mouth. He has my blue eyes (something he also shares with Jack and Cora.)

He has his own perfect round head, his own yet-to-be-determined hair color, and his very own one-of-a-kind chunky thighs :)

This has been a busy, busy season so it was SO nice to reconnect with Luke (and Jacob) on a four day getaway trip to Nashville.  As the third child, I feel like Luke gets put in a chair, plopped on the floor, forgotten about, etc. and so it was nice to focus in on him over those four days.  He's so easy to enjoy.  He didn't seem to want to miss a minute of the trip, hardly napping, but still managing to be very sweet :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

For me, some things to remember

If I'm a really lucky person, one day Jacob and I'll be old and living together in a nursing home and spend our days rereading our family blog reliving the "good ole days" :)

So, this post is purely for me.  Almost through week three of three kids at three locations and a 36 hour knock-out round with mastitis, I'm pausing to note a few things of late.  Today, I focus on Jack.

- He's so persistent.  He will negotiate with you until you will do anything to make him stop talking.  He's very smart that way.
- He's intensely focused. Jack has had a love of firetrucks from before he could appropriately say that word.  He spent 3 Halloweens as a firefighter.  His interests have evolved as he's aged.  He wants to know about real fires and he's been especially interested in the Great Chicago Fire, with several books currently checked out on the topic.  We also have Fire Disaster and Disasters: Natural and Man-made Catastrophes through the Centuries in the house.

It all starts so innocently and then you find you have a child who is becoming more and more fascinated with the darker side of rescues: the danger, the potential death. He is so curious about the events of September 11th.  He found an In Memoriam DVD Jacob's mom bought years back and he's always asked questions since he saw a firefighter on the cover.  We've always said that this was a sad story and a movie he couldn't watch until he was older.  Well, when you let your child flip through books like Fire Disaster he ends up asking questions about all kinds of events.  He has the basic facts of 9/11 and he pleads to learn more. And we just keep saying no but he wears us down for small details.  Man, this parenting thing is hard!

Jack still hasn't had to realize that some people want to hurt other people.  At least with his fire disaster interests, he's mostly learning about natural disasters and unfortunate accidents.  With his knowledge of 9/11, he knows that two planes crashed into the World Trade Centers, but he's never even asked why the planes crashed.  I think he just assumes it was an accident.

I love to learn about real events too, so he comes about his interests honestly, but I also want to protect his innocence for as long as I can.

What a piece of work this kid is.  In his first 12 days of Kindergarten, we've heard all of the below:

  • "I'm a super reader."  "How do you know?" I ask. "Because my nose is buried in my book."
  • After drinking chocolate milk on the first day, we told Jack he should drink only white milk since chocolate milk has a lot of sugar.  We only had to say it once and Jack has been clearly instructing the milk-passer-outers that he'll be having no more of that chocolate milk :) I love that he's health conscious for his own sake.
  • He nonchalantly comments that one of the rules is to love your teachers, but "I mean I already do" :)
  • When asked to draw something about his family, he drew the twin towers on fire.  (Chin drops to my lap.) But no, no Mom do not be concerned, see, remember that was what happened on your first day of college, so, see that was something about my family...
  • On that note, he also was asked to draw what was in his heart.  While thankfully, I don't think he shared this drawing with the class, his heart had the Titanic, the twin towers, and the 2009 Australian brush fires, because those were all sad things and that was what was in his heart.  Just imagine the looks on Jacob's and my faces when he recounted that part of his day!?!
  • He's always happy to share what he had for lunch or snack, in detail.  He's eating the school lunch provided by Revolution Foods. We are generally pleased with the healthier fare offered at his school, though, I still stand by my controversial stance that goldfish, animal crackers, graham crackers, etc. really serve no healthful purpose as a children's snack.  I love that Jack's school has parents signing up for the daily morning snack and has specifically asked for these to be healthy and, ideally, fruits/veggies.
  • He pulled out his class snack calendar and was able to read almost every student's name based on probably having seem them written in his class, his knowledge of first letter sounds, and, because he's obviously gotten to know all of these new friends.  This last piece makes me happy.
  • He's staying two days for an extra hour for soccer and it made me smile to see him running around in the gym at 4:45 today with such a happy look on his face :)

I love this one-of-a-kind rascal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My 5 month olds

Here they are:




This is such a sweet stage.  Nice and sturdy, super loving and interactive, immobile :)  All our babies were 19 lbs at 5 months, so lots of squishy sweetness :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why I know you'll do great in Kindergarten

You are kind.

I'm always trying to think of conversation starters at dinner, so tonight, I asked "What is one kind thing you did and what is one kind thing someone did for you today?" ... "Jacob?"  While Jacob was talking, I saw a light flash in Jack's eyes and he jumped in "When I saw someone crying at school, I was thinking about asking them to sit by me, but both spots by me were already taken."  I love that he had this impulse. (Jacob did add, "well, were the spots by that kid taken?" ) I also really love that the conversation we had last week about "what would you do if you saw someone feeling sad" flashed through his mind in a real life moment out in the world.  

You are curious.

All the words that come to mind when asked to describe you are synonyms with curious.  You just plain love to learn.  We have 8 books out from the library on the Great Chicago Fire; we have requests in for books about astronauts.  You hear about something, you want to know more, and you track down the info (i.e. you hound us relentlessly until we read it/look it up/request it.)  You love "why."  You know you are going to learn to read this year and I'm so excited to see the power this gives you.

You are ready.

With you at Kindergarten today, I felt oddly at peace.  I know you will encounter many situations and new experiences out in the world, but I trust the little person you are becoming and I know you are ready to try, to fail, to learn, to succeed, to grow.

It's not all sunshine and roses.  You can be so erratic, but there is so much goodness in you and, as a former teacher, I would have loved having a Jack in my class :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Luke at 5 Months

Luke's life has had big changes in the last month, although some things have stayed the same:

He's still chubby, chubby and he's still our sweet, sweet baby.
5 months: 19 lbs - just like his big brother and sister at that age!

No visible teeth, but LOTS of drooling and gnawing!

He is now the most eligible bachelor at the daycare center at my work.  He had a ridiculously sweet three week entree into the world of daycare being one of two babies at the center.  Our center is a mix of care for staff children and children of our accelerated high school students.  The high school babies didn't start until mid-August, so now there are a total of four babies with his teacher.  Four babies makes the room a more hopping place and Luke isn't getting those same amazing naps he had been at home.  Last weekend, he was home for a 3 day stretch and he was still napping 6-7 hours a day, like he had been pre-daycare, but, where he might take a 2.5-3 hour nap at home, his daycare naps tend to be 45 minutes. Yikes!!  I hope we can figure this out over the next month.  It's a huge boon that I work part time because he gets some breaks to nap at home, but he does have some longer days at daycare and I want to know that he's getting the rest he needs.

Luke and I both love his teacher, Ms. Larita.  She's a blessing - great care and very easy to talk to, which is important since I am able to pop over and nurse him for about half his feedings.  I also have been nursing him upon arrival.  This makes sense for a lot of reasons:
1) It's easier to get out of the house without needing to feed him first.
2) It's a gentler way of dropping him off.
3) It makes it clear that his belly is full, so, even if he's fussy, it won't look like hunger is the culprit.
4) It maximizes the time between feedings.

Because of less optimal napping, Luke's bedtime has inched up to between 6-6:30, with some 5:30 days this month!  I still wake him to nurse between 9:30-10 and he still sleeps all the way through the night, often with me waking him at 6:30.

With the big kids starting school next week, I hope we can get on a better rhythm as a whole family because I'm done with having every day/week be different!  If we have a better schedule, I think it will help Luke have a better schedule.  Not that he's complaining.  He continues to be the easiest baby - adapting to whatever each day brings.

 Other big adventures this month:
First trip to SC to visit Grammy and Big Papa

Time with cousin Billy (both boys post-nap)

Flight home alone with Mom - the precious moments of "only-child-dom"

Reunion with brother Jack who didn't make the SC trip

Luke was baptized on the 16th and it was such a special day.  Luke is our third baby baptized by our pastor, Callie, at Rayne, our church.  Our Rayne family is certainly an extension of family for us here in New Orleans.
Wearing my big brother's baptism outfit and a kiss from my big sister

Luke is such a joy to our family!  We think he's our little blondie with more light peach fuzz appearing daily :)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

I-Need-a-Fresh-Start Days

Please tell me I'm not the only one who, at some point during a day, starts to think that that particular day is nearing unsalvageable and a new day is needed.

The problem this week was that it seemed like every day was one of those days.

I don't want to be too harsh on myself as Cora bookended last week with differing episodes of sickness, was out of school four days, and it was only my fourth week back at work.  Not a "typical" week, for sure.

Still. A few too many days like this together and you start to feel a little lost in the crazy and not quite sure what you're doing wrong.

If your child starts being rude and erratic within 2 minutes of being in your car after pickup from school, it might not feel like your fault per say, but it also can set off a chain of events that leaves you pretty quickly feeling like you need a fresh start day.

When your sick-but-not-acting-sick child starts to fall apart from 4:00 on, it can be hard to remember that she probably isn't feeling well and it can be VERY hard to still treat her with patience and compassion.

And then there's your baby, but no wait, he was his usual sweet self. He seemed to be saying "Mom and Dad, you look like you have your hands full, how about I go take a 3 hour nap and get out of the mix?" or "Gee, you guys seem busy, want me to knock off for the night at 5:55?"  And then he'd reappear for his 10:00 feeding and give us some sweet smiles and help give us the fresh start :)

So...in trying to figure out what we might could do to set us up for a better week, we:

  • Made sure both big kids napped on both weekend days as I think lack of naps and sleep was the chief culprit last week
  • Used the weekend naps to better plan for the week so there can be some better balance between work, school, and quality time together
  • Will now be very proactive with some Miralax because a constipated, willful child (i.e. one who can resist for HOURS in the middle of the night trying not to poop) is NOT someone you want to live with long term
Here's hoping!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lukie Tukie at 4 Months

That's 17 lbs, 8 oz of handsome :)
And yes we do actually call him that :)

And sorry ladies (and all parents), this baby's not for sale. He's about the most perfect baby, with the slight exception that he can and will unload some serious spit up all over you several times a day.

A day in Luke's life

He still sleeps a solid 18 hours a day if you let him. If no one else's schedule is superseding his, his days go something like this:

5:45-6:30 - Wake up in his cradle - he more "calls out" than cries

I feed him in bed and we hang out until I need to get up. He usually then lays on his bath chair in the shower while I shower. He still loves the water and happily sits there sucking his hands. He then gets his bath.

Luke then comes downstairs to be a part of the breakfast routine. We start him with some tummy time, but he's only happy to do this for a few minutes. He then moves to his bouncy chair where, currently, he stuffs whatever he can into his mouth because he's working on his first tooth. I have some chew beads that he holds and chews on or we give him a cold ring, but he can't hold on to those very well.

By the time we are sitting down to eat, Luke's been up for more than an hour and CAN'T HANG! :) I usually feed him while I eat and that helps make him happy for a little bit longer and sometimes he will take a cat nap while we eat.

8:00-8:45 - Somewhere in this window, Luke goes down for his morning nap based on how early he got up and what's happening with everyone else.

Luke then sleeps for 3-3.5 hours and sometimes we wake him up if we need to or if it's been past 3 hours. He likes to sleep on his belly. We used to always give him his paci, but it's clear he prefers to just suck his thumb. He'll scoot around for a minute or so and then settle down with usually his right thumb in his mouth. He flipped over for the first time at 3 months and now will frequently flip himself over on to his back. He's not one for back sleeping, so if this happens, we just roll him back onto his tummy.

11:30-1:15 - This is Luke's awake time. He eats, gets dressed and hangs out with his family during lunch. He gets LOTS of Jack and Cora attention in this window and this is their most amped time of day, so poor baby. He usually participates in books before rest time and eats again. Staying awake for a full two hours is a stretch for this guy, he'd ideally already be asleep two hours after he woke up from his morning nap.

1:15-1:30 - Luke is usually back asleep. His favorite place to sleep is in his crib with the door shut and a fan on for white noise.

If we are home, he'll sleep for another 3 hours, though this nap is occasionally shorter. What most normally happens is that something is going on in the afternoon and he won't get to start his afternoon nap right when he needs it. He might take a cat nap but when he can finally get into his room, he crashes.

4:00-4:30 - He's up again and ready to hang out. He likes to be held, would be happy to go on a walk in his K-tan carrier, gets some more Jack and Cora attention, and his newest past time is being put down on a blanket alone in his room with some toys. We're still not quite to the point where he plays with anything, but I do think he likes to look at things at his eye level and, if he can get it to his mouth, he will. And his room is his favorite place, because, well, it's quiet :) A few times I'll come check on him and sweet baby is back to sleep sucking his thumb.

This time of day is a problem stretch for Luke as, remember, he doesn't like to be awake for more than 2 hours at a time, so he needs some kind of cat nap in the afternoon or he gets a little frantic by bed time.

By 7:00, he wants to have been fed and changed into his PJs. He might get a bath tub bath if he's been especially "spitty" that day :)

Around 10:00, I wake him as I get ready to go to bed and feed him once more and put him to sleep in the cradle by my bed. His cradle days are very numbered at this point as he's a big guy. One night, he ate closer to 8:00, so I tried leaving him in his crib and skipped the "dream feed" but he woke just shy of 5:00, so I'm keeping the 10:00 feeding for a while longer to help his wake-up match mine.

That's Luke's perfect schedule. The guy has had a pretty nice and relaxing life up until this point. He starts daycare on Monday and I so hope he can get good sleep there as he seems to be a baby that needs a lot of sleep. He's such a happy baby and I think that's because he's superbly rested and gets the breaks he needs between his super stimulating awake time (thank you Jack and Cora.)

I know all babies are sweet but there is something about Luke that just exudes an extra sweetness - we just adore him and can't get enough of him!