Where have I been?

Yeah, sorry folks.  I’ve just been so wrapped up in my life…

Jack and I have moved to our new apartment.  Joe is staying with us currently but it looks like he may have found a place to live up in the north bay, much closer to his place of work.  He is possibly starting his move on Monday.

The landscaping at the new place is beautiful, with streams running all along the property and ducks swimming everywhere.  Jack runs to the window a million times a day to look out at the ducks.  He LOVES the ducks.

Jack has been so incredibly amazing every day.  I am so thankful that he is in my life.  His smiling face keeps me afloat.  His daycare provider said to me yesterday, “Jack is always happy!”  He is right – Jack is an incredibly happy kid and I feel lucky to know him.

My greatest joy of late has been hearing Jack mispronounce words.  My favorites are:

“Hey mama, is that what inja says?”  (ninja)
“See the ellacracker?!”  (helicopter)

He seems to be going through a major growth spurt.  He is usually a pretty sparse eater but lately he’s been gobbling everything up.  He eats a cup of cheerios before daycare, then eats a full breakfast once there (Wednesday he ate FOUR pancakes!).  When he gets home he eats two cheese sticks.  Two days ago he finished his plate of beans & couscous.  Yesterday he ate pork loin at lunch like he was starving.  What a nice change!

On the road to weaning

We are somewhat working on weaning.  Well, some say that weaning begins when solids are introduced, but that is not how I think of weaning.  Up until very recently, I have always let Jack call the shots on nursing.  Nursing is an important part of his nutrition as well as his emotional development, and I don’t want to take it away before he is ready.  With that said, I have found breastfeeding to be emotionally difficult for me throughout the duration, and I feel that I am reaching my limit.  I am trying to strike a balance that will work for both Jack and me.

As Jack has shown less interest in nursing and more interest in the world around him, I have begun to test the waters a bit.  I have really made an effort to get on top of solids to ensure that meals are prepared quickly when he gets hungry so that he is less likely to get impatient and decide to nurse instead of eat solids.  Consistency and proactivity about meal and snack times have been key.  Additionally, when he does ask to nurse I try to see if I can offer cow’s milk or water instead, or a hug if it seems that he wants attention.  This has been working really well, with only minimal balking from Jack.

I’ve stepped things up as of late.  Many a morning I have had to leave for work before Jack is up, so we skip our morning nursing session.  Some mornings we run late and although he asks to nurse, I offer him food or water or cow’s milk and he is perfectly content with that (although it surprises me every time!).  I have been attending group therapy directly after work on Thursdays and so we have delayed that post-work nursing session or skipped it in favor of a longer nursing-to-sleep session after I get home.  He has been sleeping so well lately that some days we are down to only one nursing session!

I’m going out of town tonight and I have thought a lot about what will happen while I’m away and when I return.  I know that some kids Jack’s age wean themselves when their mamas travel away for a few days, and I’m prepared for that possibility.  Still, I can’t really see that happening.  It would sure shock the hell out of me.  More likely, the remaining nursing sessions will continue to dwindle away until we cease for good some time in the fall.  That would be just about perfect, in my opinion.

While I’m looking forward to moving on from this stage of our relationship, I know it also signifies that Jack is truly starting to grow up.  That, of course, sends a little pang to my heart.  Nursing or not, Jack will always be my sweet son, my special little guy, my babyman.

Food Update

Since my post last week after his pediatric appointment, Jack has decided that food is the best thing in the world.  Suddenly he is ravenous.  He’ll finish a whole box of raisins in a sitting, eat the corners off all the slices of pizza, and finished off a package of cherry tomatoes in a mere 3 days.  Can we say growth spurt?

He still isn’t drinking much during the day but luckily many of the foods we give him keep him hydrated and he still nurses like a champ when we’re together.  I have no idea what to do to encourage him to drink during the day, as no vessel seems to tempt him.

I like the fact that Jack can now tell us when he’s hungry.  Last night he gestured upward with his hand toward a box of Cheerios and opened and closed his fist while he chanted, “Moremoremore…”  It’s adorable.

Gosh, sometimes it seems these kids like to freak out their parents on purpose.

18 Month Well Baby

I’m not sure why this happens every time we visit the pediatrician, but I forget to ask all of the questions I have saved up.  I even wrote questions down this time and didn’t ask them.  Stage fright, I guess.

Jack is 26 lbs. (he got on the big person scale!) and 32″.  He has dropped percentiles and is now totally average at the 49th (down from the 85th).  Since I forgot to ask about whether a mere 1 pound gain in 6 months was a concern, I sent an email off to the pediatrician when I got to work.  The doctor replied to say that the one pound gain is low and recommended we feed Jack more dairy and legumes.  Nothing I didn’t know there…very helpful, doc.  I can offer, but I can’t make the boy eat.  I particularly like the part where the pediatrician said “his weight is still within normal limits.”  He must have forgotten that the entire growth chart is “normal limits.”  He also suggested giving Jack whole milk…forgetting apparently that breastmilk is whole milk, and also the part where we talked about how Jack won’t drink anything other than a few sips of water (in addition to the 3-4 nursing sessions a day).  Can you tell I’m not impressed with the ped?

We got caught up on immunizations (apparently Kaiser has a more aggressive immunization schedule than our previous pediatrician’s office, so we were “behind”) and it actually wasn’t too bad.  Jack only cried for a minute and then the nurse distracted him with a star sticker.  We refused the chicken pox and flu vaccines.  Being sick with both of those things sucks but it’s not life-threatening.  We will consider chicken pox if he doesn’t catch it before middle school.

Overall I dislike well baby check-ups.  So far they haven’t been helpful at all.  Perhaps that is a sign right there that we are doing just fine on our own.

Back to Normal

Our household is recovered.  Yay!!!  Jack seemed like he would never get well and then BAM!  He’s totally back to normal.

I’m stressing about his food intake, though.  Before he got sick he was hardly drinking any expressed breastmilk during the day, and only sips water.  Now he’s cut out milk completely.  Joe has tried sippies, straws, bottles and none of them seem to persuade him.  That may be okay since I nurse at least 3-4 times each day but he is not eating enough solid foods, either.  The best I can tell, he is getting maybe 400 calories a day from solids.  In total he needs about 1300 calories a day.  I estimate he gets about 400 from me but it’s (obviously) hard to say.  He used to be in the 85 percentiles for height and weight, but has dropped down to about the 30th.

We are visiting his pediatrician next week for his 18 month check up but I’m nervous because this is the first time I don’t feel confident about Jack’s intake.  I don’t have much trust for doctors and this one has never seen us before.  There isn’t anything we could be doing differently, though, so I know I shouldn’t worry so much.  Perhaps it is a phase, or maybe it will get better when he is back at daycare with a real schedule and other kids around encouraging him to do what they are doing.

Other than that, we’re spending our time talking about colors a lot.  With Jack’s recent discovery of crayons, he is fairly obsessed.  It’s not enough, though, to color by himself.  No, he wants to watch US color.  We’ve been pointing out the names of colors (last night we had a lesson about the colors of his diapers) and he’s been adding to his vocabulary.  So far his favorite is definitely yellow.

We’ve also been reading counting books and Jack pretends to count constantly.  It’s pretty damned cute when he randomly says, “two…twee…fah…”  I *think* he is starting to figure out the correct order but it’s hard to say.  Last night I showed him  how to hold  up the number of fingers but that is going to take a ton of practice.

It’s fascinating to me to see how kids learn.  I truly am amazed at how human beings function.  As I was sitting in a meeting at work today, I looked at the presenter and pictured him as a child learning the basics of math.  It was then that it hit me that someday Jack is going to grow up and be an expert on something.  It’s going to be so weird!