Wow… I came to write a post and found this sitting here waiting for editing. It has to be 6 weeks old! It is funny reading it and realizing how much Sam has changed in that time, and how out of date it is. Oh well, I will post it anyway – better late than never, eh?
And our little man – who as you will see below has turned out not to be so little – has turned 6 months. We took him to his pediatrician and Sam is now 18 lbs 10 and 27″. He has come a long way from his 6 lb 15 oz, 20″ self. More impressively, he is moving up and up on the growth-for-age curve. At birth, his height and weight were in the low 30th percentile. By 2 months he was hovering around the 50th percetile mark, and now he is up in the 75th percentile for both height and weight.
Notably, his head remains a stubbornly pin-headed 16th percentile. Oh well. Any extra brains would only get bashed out as he rises the UFC ranks and becomes world MMA champion :)
We had his vaccinations and Sam cried for all of 3 seconds. I cried way more. The first one is never too bad, for neither me nor Sam. It is the next two, which both he and I knowing that they are going to hurt him. I find it funny that our pediatrician seems genuinely glad to leave the room for the shots, and says that he ‘hates the mean part’.
I am so glad we have a pediatrician who we can trust and who works well with us. He is very knowledgeable and up to date on current statistics and treatments, but more than that, it is just a good personality mix. He is good humored, and laid back. Willing to work with us on what we want, yet seems to know when to put his foot down (gently). I am sure this is in no way unique to Dr. Injac, but he also really seems to just love Sam and being a pediatrician. He also looks after me too, and I will always be grateful to him for that. So we discussed Sam, and his many milestones achieved over the last 2 months.
Movement: Yay! Sam is crawling. He started crawling a week before he turned 6 months. Having spent weeks on all fours rocking but going no where, or almost accidentally slithering along the wooden floors at home, Sam has debuted his army-style low crawl while a Houston airport, with maximum audience potential. This quickly gave way to real crawling, and for just 3 days there was an adorable stage where he would unsteadily reach his hands out, fingers splayed and wobble along. But now that is gone, and he fires around the house willy nilly and at great speed. Or he would if we had not bought him a cage to contain the madness (starting the octagon training already).
And he is a great sitter now, and will sit himself up from either his front or his back, but prefers tummy time and crawling. He will also stand at his new table and play for ages, sliding down to the side quite gracefully when he is tired.
Talking: So, when we proudly told our pediatrician Sam was crawling already, he smiled and said ‘does he babble’. Er…. well…. Let’s just say yes, OK? I mean he can… he just chooses not too. We nodded and hurriedly moved on. Letting the side down Sam!
Sleep: Yay! Still sleeping through the night. He goes down at 7 pm now, usually quite awake. He’ll fuss if I am in the room, but as soon as I leave he rolls over onto his front and activates the electric fish tank on the side of his crib, which plays music and has soft blue lights. Sometimes he will turn it on and off a few times, but mostly he just switches it on and watches it until he falls asleep. The fish tank was a gift from my friend Alanna – I would have never considered getting one, but it has turned out to be a godsend. Sam just loves it. We feed him at ~10.30 and then he sleeps until around 7.15, give or take 15 minutes. I am grateful that Dr. Injac got us to sleep train, I know that it is not for everyone (and believe me, I don’t give a fig how / when / if you sleep train your child), but for me it has served two purposes: one, I don’t worry about it. Good quality sleep is an extremely important health behavior to me, and I would have worried about getting Sam into a sleeping pattern – for his own good as much as anything. Now that load is off my mind, I am more relaxed.
Two: It has made me realize how ridiculous the Mummy-wars are. Seriously. The crap I read about cry-it-out and its effects, you’d think that practicing it was tantamount to child abuse. I get that it is not for everyone, but we were left with a very happy, well-adjusted child who still cries for his Mum (or Dad, or bottle, or toy) sometimes in the day and fully expects his cries to be answered, and who often just chills in his crib giggling and playing with his hands / soft toy / fish tank. So when I read articles or blog posts which have the tone of ‘this is one of the worst things you can do to your child’ I laugh, and remember how ridiculous that is, and take that feeling forward to other articles with similar scare stories about other parenting techniques (what? You allow your kid to watch TV? He has his own room? You let him hold his own bottle? His life is ruined, ruined I tell you).
I guess I am grateful because it has made me chill out about parenting so much. As I have said before: with so many things: breast vs formula; co-sleep vs crib; baby wearing vs. stroller; CIO vs. not; baby led weaning vs. purees – the differences in terms of child development, if there are any, are teeny tiny (with the exception of infections / illness and breast feeding I think, but oh well…). I like asking people how they raise their children, and I like taking advice, but really, with 2 Psychology degrees, an early Years teaching degree, 2 years special needs teaching, several years nannying and a whole lotta love for my wee one: I trust myself not to super damage my child too much psychologically and to get him to where he needs to be.
In the interests of honesty, Sam is not a perfect sleeper (which I choose to find reassuring, as Ferberizing didn’t turn him into an automaton). Occasionally, he will really yell. If I think he is genuinely not tired I will cuddle him for a while, whipping him back in his crib if he is looking very sleepy. I’ll also always offer him food just in case he is hungry. But 85% of the time he goes down with no more than 2 minutes fuss, and 95% of the time he sleeps through the night. Sweet!
Food: He is munching his way through sweet potato sticks, pear, scrambled eggs, bread and banana. A more varied diet is definitely on our ‘must do’ list. We are trying to find out if he is allergic to dairy. He has developed heinous eczema, which our pediatrician prescribed a steroid cream for. While I have utterly failed at being a hippie alternative mother, I am not keen on drugs if they can be avoided. I aksed our pediatrician if we could consider dietary causes, and he readily agreed. He said that in about 50% of cases, it was a food allergy and so we are swapping his formula for a non-dairy formula and seeing that helps – our pediatrician gave us 2 weeks worth of free samples – SCORE!
[Edit & Update: The dairy-free formula worked! His eczema cleared up, and a challenge test bought it back. So that's that then.]
That’s it! Sam is fun. He is a lively, sweet natured boy, who loves to play bu himself, but wants cuddles as well. This seems to be a beautiful time in our parenting journey. Everything seems to have returned to pre-pregnancy levels: my body, my job, my mind in general. I feel I am able to be the old Lekki again, and have Lekki’s life back, but with a wonderful addition :) I am no longer freaked out or guilt tripped by proclamations of what I must and mustn’t do to raise Sam. I have figured out he is pretty good at letting me know when he is displeased with his up bringing. Bring on the next 6 months!!