ABC and allotments

Boaz fell asleep singing the ABC song to himself. You’re remarkably good at it, you miss a few letters out and Aba says you make up some too but I love the fact that you always include the little ditty at the end. I won’t be surprised if you dream of gardening – we went to the allotments this afternoon to have a quick inspection. Courgettes are a favourite and we saw lots of flowers and some fruit. You get very excited about ‘jasmine’ ‘climbing’, not that there was any there, but equally as fascinating are the runner beans, which also climb!

Elza fell asleep without her dummy and looks serene lying on her back, arms and legs stretched out wide. Little mouse is lying next to you staring into the mirror of the ‘aba, ima, baby’ book. You really hate the sling, you much prefer to sit on my hip, helped today by the funny ‘hippychick’ contraption aunty Tal gave us. Will have to try you in the karrime facing outwards, I just can’t fathom that you’re already big enough for that – where has 4.5 months gone!!

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Hello Transport Museum

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You love anything with wheels! Trains, trucks and tractors are particular favourites but it’s also hard work stopping you from touching the wheels of the cars as we walk along the street. They just happen to be at Boaz height. So your Aba thought it the perfect time to take you to the London Transport Museum and he sent back this picture at lunchtime!

No more the ‘howling beast’

When you started nursery at the beginning of September your Aba definitely had the harder role. Having been with you for a couple of settling in days I was prepared for it to be a bit tricky as you adjusted to being left there 2.5 days a week. It was an unfamiliar place, people you didn’t know and a whole load of other children. I felt most bad that you wouldn’t be getting my sole, undivided attention, that they couldn’t care for you in the same devoted way I had, everyday for almost a whole year.

But then your Aba described the first day he dropped you off and how you were like a ‘howling beast’ and all my other fears were cast aside as I panicked about the trauma we were subjecting you to by leaving you there. At work I’d listen to other parents talk about how long it took their kids to settle in, how their kids still had the same reaction and they were in primary school. But I’d race home at the end of the day to pick you up and scoop you into my arms, teary faced, having found comfort in sleeping for long stretches of the day and often still with your dummy in.

And then we had a break and for four weeks over the chagim you were either at home with us or with Savtal, where you were always so happy when I came to pick you up. You became more confident finding your way around their house, ever more besotted with Tazzie and charmed them all as they got to spend meaningful time with you.

So you can understand that we were slightly apprehensive to send you back after seeing how good day care could be! And the first few days were difficult as you settled back in and got used to everyone again.

the smiler

It some how seems apt to be writing this now. It’s just gone 7.30pm and you’re not fast asleep – which is rare, so rare I can’t remember it happening before. It’s probably just your teething finally coming to a head but it’s so unlike you I’m not entirely sure what to do. So I’ve flipped you back over onto your back to look at your birds and the mobile and try to suck your toe through the grobag and I’ve sat down to write this.

You are the most incredible baby. You sleep anywhere. And all we have to do is put you face down on a bed (preferably double), give you your rabbit and a dummy within reach and leave you to get on with it. People have been astonished and so impressed – and dare I say it several mummies have been rather jealous. Whether you know the room or not, during the day or in the evening, it’s been a joy to take you to people’s houses. And when you reappear you just need a bottle and you’re the centre of the party, standing on your feet and bouncing on everyone’s laps.

And you smile at everyone. The strange lady in the street, the green bin recycling man, the friend who comes to admire you. Whether you’re on top form or exhausted and in a grump, you look up with your big eyes and come out with this wonderful smile. It makes everyone’s day better and no-one can believe a baby could be such a smiler.

It’s 7.45pm and you’ve fallen asleep on your back. It must be your teeth because you couldn’t sleep at lunchtime and you were off your food and teatime. The only real smile I got out of you today was in the bath.

I suppose I had better back-track a bit – it’s been a while since my last blog. Speaking of which, right after I’d written it and told Aba, he informed me that you’d been grabbing your feet in the bath for a while, you just hadn’t done it for me. Well, your feet have become of more and more interest since then. You started by grabbing them, you tried for ages to get them near your mouth, you learnt that it was easier to get a grip on your socks, you learnt they came off if you pulled them (although you haven’t made a habit of that – they tend to come off on their own as you’re bouncing around). And finally this evening you actually got your big toe in your mouth and had a right suck on it. You looked very pleased with yourself and even repeated it for the camera.

Another milestone has been sitting unsupported. It happened on Thursday 15th March when you were 6 months and 1 week old! As I’ve written before, you’d been trying for ages, toning those core muscles and then all of a sudden with no fanfare, you sat bolt upright on your mat as though you’d been doing it for months. It’s made so much difference – I can now put you down without having to worry that you’re lying in the middle of the bathroom floor. It’s also changed the way you play with your toys. You were no longer happy just lying on your play mat, which has now been mothballed in favour of the rubber ring (in which you still manage to get stuck in a reclining position) and the quilt. You suddenly have a new perspective on the world and now you want to play with things that are more interesting than stuffed toys. Favourites are the measuring spoons, a couple of plastic blocks you were given and now stacking cups your grand dad gave you this weekend. Actually you still love the Aba, Ima, Baby, Boaz soft book and monkey is never far away.

You’ve also started using the walker and although a bit hesitant at first, you’re now starting to master it, navigating between the armchair and the bookcase and around the table, grabbing anything that you can reach and displaying your treasure on the tray in front of you. The kitchen is also a favourite where you can admire your reflection in the brabantia bin, grab wooden spoons off the shelf during pesach and now we’ll have to figure out how to stop you from opening the draws and cupboards. You’re not quite racing around in it yet but you’re not far off and it’s wonderful to watch you, as long as you stay away from the corners of the table – another thing to baby proof.

banana in your hair

We introduced you to food yesterday. You weren’t keen on the steamed carrot and broccoli we offered you first but the cucumber was a hit and you managed to suck on it for a while. Then this morning you happily got on with eating a sliced banana but I freaked out when you bit off a chunk and ended up whacking you on the back while holding you face down because I was terrified you were choking. I’m told it’s normal for babies to gag as they learn how to chew and swallow their food, so I’ll just have to relax and trust you to get on with it. With squashed banana in your hand you then touched your hair and ended up with banana in your hair, which lightened what was quite a stressful start to the day.

You’ll be 6 months old this week and you’ve been showing all the signs that you’re ready for weaning. Your sitting is getting stronger every day,  your back is getting straighter and you only need minimal support to sit by yourself. It’s amazing to see you sitting comfortably in the rubber ring and reaching forward with both hands to play with your toys. But you still can’t stop yourself from falling sideways and every so often I find you slumped to the side on the sofa where I propped you up or in the rubber ring and you can’t right yourself. You’ve turned it into a bit of an art and we try to convince you that toppling over and landing on your front is something exciting – not something to get upset about.

Your hand coordination is improving all the time and you can now grab hold of things with both hands, move it to your mouth and keep it there.  It means you can finally get some use out of the teething toy giraffe I bought you several months ago and more importantly is why you can get the cucumber to your mouth and suck on it.

Having got your hands more under control you now want to touch everything – which I suppose is how you discover feel and texture. You want to touch the clock, the pages of books, the metal shade of the lamp, the orange, paper napkins. You’re also fascinated with people’s faces and reach out to touch eyes, grab noses, feel hair, stroke beards. It’s lovely to watch and be part of your explorations – until you get a little finger up your nose or in your mouth!

Other things you’ve started doing include lifting up your knees and feet when you’re lying down – it’s different to the double crunches you’ve been doing for the past month, although you’re not yet grabbing your socks or touching your feet. You’re also making all the right preparations for crawling. While on your tummy you move your arms and legs frantically in a swimming motion. You stick your bottom in the air a lot – when you’re on your tummy in your cot and when we’re holding you you’ve started burying your head in our shoulder and then sticking your bottom out. We’re not entirely sure what  you’re trying to do but it does make you very wiggly to hold.

You’re still practicing rolling over although we’ve not see you actually do it yet – except in the bath. You love being on your front in the bath, propping yourself up on your hands and kicking your legs and then for a change, sticking your bum in the air and rolling onto your back. I think you can manage it because floating in the water means you don’t have to worry about what to do with the arm that’s impeding your progress on land.

Woohoo – an update!

You rolled over. Of course neither of us saw you do it. You were on your play mat (the quilt nanny had made for you) on your front, I was in the kitchen making some breakfast and Aba was at work and when I came back into the living room you were on your back! You’ve not done it again, in fact we’re not sure you know how to because every time you try one of your arms seems to be in the way. But we’ll wait and after a bit more bottom in the air swinging from side to side we’re sure you’ll master it.

We’re still waiting for a tooth – your tongue is permanently in the bottom right hand side of your mouth so we think that’s where the first one is slowly coming through. But before that happens we may be starting to introduce you to food – we’re waiting until you’re 6 months old (so only a couple more weeks to go!) and will try something called Baby Led Weaning where we give you sticks of food to explore and play with rather than feeding you endless purees with a spoon. We’ll see how it goes but the reason we wait until you’re 6 months is to make sure you can sit and support yourself and get things to your mouth, because you’ll pretty much be feeding yourself.

You’ve only just started showing an interest in what we’re eating and drinking. It started with my tea in the morning, after you’d drunk your milk your little eyes would follow my mug to my lips and then down again. Then you started staring as I ate, watching my spoon or the piece of toast and now you’ve started to reach out to try and grab things – today it was my glass of water while we were at Gnunu’s and at lunch it was the challah on the board. This is why we waited to wean you – so that you’re really curious to discover what the whole eating thing is about. Saying that, it’s not just food that’s being grabbed these days, the standing lamp was targeted this morning and I can’t say I blame you, it’s an entirely new feeling and texture. Aba says the shower curtain has been a new touchy feely experience and our shaggy rug on the living room floor is an exciting new texture.

Sitting is going really well – you still don’t have the ram rod straight back babies need to sit up themselves – but you no longer need us to support you completely. In fact you can sit in a slightly bent forward position and balance yourself, just needing our support stop you falling to the side.  It’s introduced a whole new element of play, you love it when we take your hands and help you pull yourself up from lying flat to sitting, then you can lean forward and reach for your toys and play with them. It’s come in very useful in the bath where you sit and play with your duck and floating toys with only a one of our hands on your back. And in the rubber ring where you always looked a bit uncomfortable but now you sit leaning forward slightly and enjoying what’s in there with you – most recently some silver foil which made a fantastic crinkly noise when you touched it.

Your hands are also learning to work better together and we see your co-ordination improving all the time. You’ve mastered getting things to your mouth, whereas before you were grabbing stuff but then ending up gnawing on your hands. Bigger things are easier – stuffed animals and floating toys get sucked on for a bit. But smaller things are still more difficult – you don’t quite have the control you need so plastic rings and teething toys reach your mouth and then come back out. I figured your control would improve even more over the next couple of weeks so you can actually get to enjoy the first food we give you!!

It’s amazing to see how you instinctively know what to do to develop your skills – whether it’s the tummy crunches, the babbling and high pitched noises, constantly handling things – and teaching yourself to crawl is no exception. Lying on your tummy you move your little arms and legs vigorously as though you were swimming through the water, now all you need to do is start doing it with your hands and knees on the floor and you’ll be well on your way.

And just finally, I can’t remember if I wrote about your new high pitched noises, they’re great although we are trying to ignore them to a certain extent so you don’t get the idea they’re for everyday use.  

Still waiting for a tooth!

You’ve been chewing your hands for almost 3 months now and still no tooth! But we have a feeling it’s finally on its way because you’ve started poking your tongue out of the side of your mouth and Aba is convinced he can feel a tooth trying to break through. It’s really difficult watching you struggle with the discomfort, chewing on everything you can get your hands on and so many of the toys we thought would be useful are just rubbish because they’re either too big for you to gnaw on or they’re not the right shape or you spend more time poking yourself in the eye than getting it in your mouth. Fingers seem to offer the best relief, either your own or ours, as well as pieces of clothing – your muslin, my scarf, Aba’s shirt. 
But your hand co-ordination is coming along fabulously. Savtal remarked today how you can pass things between your hands – they are certainly working better together but I thought you were just grabbing with one and then letting go with the other, seems I underestimated your development. And you’re now able to get things into your mouth, they just don’t stay there very long. It will be interesting to see what happens when we start weaning you. Up until now you’ve not shown much interest in food so we weren’t in a hurry to do it but in the last week or so you’ve started watching us intently as we drink and looking quizzically as we eat. It was very funny today when we stopped in a car park off the M1 to feed you on our way up to see Big Nic and you were more interested in watching me drink my hot chocolate than you were on drinking your milk. I think if we can we’ll hold out a couple more weeks until you’re 6 months – i’m already working on the menu for your first few weeks!!