Thane at 8 months

This is the face of a kid who skipped his nap and is being carted around on his moms back
This is the face of a kid who skipped his nap and is being carted around on his mom's back

Sunday in church, as we were singing the final hymn, my husband started grinning. Given that he and I act like a pair of teenagers half the time we’re in church, I figured he just thought of something funny and gave him the quizzical eyebrow-raise. During the ending anthem-thingy he explained. “I just suddenly thought of Thane’s smile, and the very memory of it makes me smile”*

It’s true. My son’s smile is so exuberant and infectious that the very memory of greeting him in the morning can make you grin. All milestones aside, this is what is important about Thane.

But milestones there are! This was the month my son discovered mobility. He started crawling at Grandma’s house over Memorial Day weekend. By now, he’s lightening fast. He likes to do loops around the center island of our home. He’s eel-like — strong, squirmy and often slimy — when it comes to nursing or changing diapers. It is nearly impossible to put clothes on the child be cause he is GO GO MOVE MOVE! He seems to have a special affinity for books and shoes. He loves to play with them and put them in his mouth and generally check them out. He’s persistent. If he’s removed from an inappropriate object, he will try repeatedly to return to it.

His legs are incredibly strong. He’s pulling up to standing often, although usually on low objects. It’s more like pushing up to standing, since he rarely pulls UP, but rather pushes down to get on his feet. Yesterday, he stood for about a minute while only holding on to the collar of my shirt. It will be interesting to see if he’s satisfied with crawling, or if he decides to add walking to his repertoire by the 9 month update.

His baby babble has gotten delightful. Always a Daddy’s Boy, he spent the entire morning saying “Dadadadad”. He makes a vast array of sounds, from a delighted squeaky laugh to an insistent bird-like squawk to a truly delightful content-sound that beggars description. He is really clapping these days, which is lots of fun. Knocking down a tower of blocks is a never-ending joy and delight.

His deep affection for overhead fans remains undimmed.

One of the real issues we’ve had with him since we started solid foods half his lifetime ago has been constipation. He’ll try and try and become very unhappy because it’s not working. I cut down his solids so he was eating almost entirely fruit. He’s still breast-fed. But it didn’t work. Finally I called his doctor (shoulda done that earlier) to explain that the all-prunes, all-the-time diet wasn’t working, and was told to give him prune juice. I’ve never given my infants juice because, well, they didn’t need it and it just represented empty calories (I thought). But my! What a difference 2 oz a night of prune juice has made! He has stealth poops now, that we only discover to our chagrin later! This is infinitely preferable. So there’s my advice to you all, in case you ever find yourself in similar straits.

This is the incredibly messy state with food. He desires mastery over the babyfood spoon. He looooooooves Cheerios, but his method of eating them resembles artillery as much as fine dining. He can thwart the craftiest parent with a well-aimed swipe at a spoon, and if that fails, he’s not above blowing green-bean-bubbles. I had blocked this stage from my memory with Grey. It’s MESSY, but the only way to teach him to eat real food is to give him real food to eat and suffer the consequences.

Mr. Messy-Face
Mr. Messy-Face

Thane is becoming a pickier sleeper. He used to just go down very easily. But at Grandma’s at the beginning of the month, he really didn’t like to go to sleep in his Pack and Play. And we discovered at camping, to our chagrin, our Pack and Play was just as despised as hers. Lately he’s been fussing more about going to sleep, even when visibly tired. I suppose it is some compensation that he will sometimes now sleep between 10:30 (pre-my-bedtime feeding) and about 6 am. He’ll usually go back to sleep after the 6 am feeding.

Grey and Thane make awesome brothers. There was this wonderful, fantastic moment while we were camping when we were all hanging out in our tent before bedtime. Grey had a very interesting glowstick that Thane wanted to check out (see also: eat). Grey would run to one side of the tent and Thane would chase after him. Round and round they went, laughing and giggling, while their father and I watched with joy. Grey’s started to get a little annoyed with some things Thane does — like playing with a toy Grey wants or making loud noises in the car. But normal, happy siblings get annoyed with each other. Grey also pays a lot of attention to his brother. He’ll often try to cheer him up when he’s sad. He’ll ask where Thane is when he’s not currently visible. He’ll give him toys (after checking first!) if Thane seems fussy. Grey has a very strong intuition for knowing what’s bugging his brother.

Brothers in adventure
Brothers in adventure

Thane’s personality has started to strongly express itself. This can be difficult because it is hard to consider another person’s opinions and preferences — especially when those preferences are strongly pro-eating-shoelaces. But it’s also one of the great delights of parenthood, to watch your children become the people they are. I love every minute of being Thane’s mother.

*All husband-quotes approximate. He hates it when I misquote him, but I can never remember EXACTLY what he said.

Back in the cubicle again

We’re back from Atlanta! We had a lovely week with my mother-in-law. Here are the points of greatest interest:

Open wide for grandma!
Open wide for grandma!

  • Thane started crawling! Real-o, trul-o stereotypical baby crawling! Right now he’s only going a tentative foot or two for a desired toy. I suspect it will transform into zippy baby very quickly. The only downside to this was the plane ride home. Babies who have just discovered how to crawl do not want to sit quietly in your arms for 2.5 hours.
  • Thane turned 7 months old. We’ve made it to 7 months nursing. Celebrate each victory, I say! With a coworker who just got back from maternity leave, we’re now up to a quarter of the programmers in my office being nursing moms. Heh.
  • Grey went to his first movie theater movie! We saw “Monsters vs Aliens” in 3-d. I think the 3-d was a bit too much for him to handle, but I thought it was awesome. He’s since insisted on being “the green guy who hits” and refuses to accept that the guy’s name is Link. Anyway, he was beautifully behaved and sat very nicely and quietly through the whole movie, so we can do that again.
  • Swimming with Cousin Alec in the pool. ’nuff said.
  • Cousins
  • My stunning discovery for the week was that, amazingly, two young children are a lot of work even (especially?) when you are on vacation. Even the addition of another dedicated adult (grandma) it was still not quite the week of reading a novel a day that vacations used to be. I can’t wait until the boys can read.
  • This was also Michael’s interment. It was a very small gathering of family who were present. We buried him (ok, watched him be buried) in the National Cemetery in Georgia. It was a beautiful spot. While we were at it, we interred his mother-in-law Mildred right next to him.

    Goodbye Michael and Millie
    Goodbye Mike and Millie

Quick Thane Update

I have a big deadline I’m working on at work and am still fantasizing about 20 minutes for a cup of tea and Book 5 of the Odyssey in my private life. This is my way of saying: don’t expect a big post here.

But the big news is that Thane pulled himself up to sitting for the first time yesterday. You know, as in you put the child on his belly, turn away for 2 seconds, and find him sitting up. Also, he’s proto-crawling. He’s getting up on all fours and moving stuff. So far, this has had the effect of moving him AWAY from the desired target, but I am convinced he’ll figure it out eventually.

I always thought it an exaggeration or coincidence when people say that babies working on milestones have sleep problems, but it’s totally true. Thane refused to go to sleep last night because he was practicing his crawling. In the middle of the night, when he woke up, instead of going back to sleep he thought, “Gee, I think I’ll practice crawling some more!” with the predictable outcome of getting his feet stuck in the slats of the crib (see also: crawling backwards) and calling for Mom to come rescue him. Funnier the first two times, let me tell you. Last night was the FIRST TIME EVER I’ve had to go back to his room after I’ve put him back to bed after our midnight feeding. I probably shouldn’t whine. With Grey we had an elaborate ritual to permit us to sneak out that only worked about 20% of the time.

Anyway, odds are excellent that Thane will reward his grandmother by learning to crawl at her house! We’re off to Atlanta on Saturday for a week of R&R.

I should start a photo album of first date and yearbook photos for both boys
I should start a photo album of first date and yearbook photos for both boys

Thane at six months

No, I will not sit for you mommy
No, I will not sit for you mommy

Thane’s six month doctor’s appointment isn’t until next week, but no one has informed him that he should continue acting like a 5 month old until then. Thane has changed vastly last month to this month. He’s certainly started to move. He’s still trying to put together all the pieces for crawling. I kept encouraging him yesterday, informing him of the 6 month press deadline, but he hasn’t quite gotten to the first crawling stage. Watch this space, though, because it’s not far off. What he is doing is moving by way of rolling, waving his body, and going around and around like the hands of some chubby, cute clock. And oh does he WANT to move.

Which brings us to milestone two: having very strong opinions. One of the milestones in “What to Worry About: The First Year” is objecting when a toy is taken away. Babies don’t notice when they lose a toy. Proto-toddlers do. (The most hilarious/frustrating stage is when they want a toy, you give it to them, they throw it, and then they cry because jeez! They want that toy! Thane’s not there yet, but very close.) As I was taking these pictures I was attempting to coax Thane into sitting unsupported long enough to get some good pictures of it. (He was doing that before I got the camera!) While doing that, he accidentally pushed away his toy and then burst into heartrending wails of despair because his toy! Was gone! WOE!!!!! So chalk that milestone up as accomplished.

Camera phone makes cute baby blue
Camera phone makes cute baby blue

Sitting is not quite there yet. If I prop him up, he can sit for a while. He USUALLY is smart enough to fall to the side, into a comfy crawling position, instead of thumping backwards onto the hard floor. He doesn’t seem to really like sitting unsupported much, and will only do so for as long as he has a neat toy in his lap. I think this is 50/50 ability/desire at this point.

Thane has gotten extremely grabby. I thought he was before but now he REALLY is. Anything within the surprisingly large radius is liable to be pulled towards him. Favorites include the cats, his brother’s hair (both brother and cats are very long-suffering), any noses, earrings, and spoons full of peas and/or prunes. The spoon thing is SO FRUSTRATING. The child will be hungry and piteously wailing about how much he’d please like some yummy sweet potatoes, meanwhile his two waving hands are more effective than anti-aircraft artillery about knocking away incoming sweet-potato-projectiles.

We’re still sort of in flux with food. For a while there we cut way back on solids. They went in fantastically. They came out with less ease. Then he got an ear infection, which prompted a nursing strike which threw my production for a loop. Then he got antibiotics which gave him diarrhea (two rs! That’s it!) which meant we could give him solids. Then he recovered from the ear infection and antibiotics and got REALLY HUNGRY and my production isn’t keeping up and I’m not in the habit of giving him that many solids. Also, he would like you to know that he may be hungry, but he isn’t hungry enough to eat peas, thankyouverymuch.

It’s been very interesting to watch my sweet, smily, sunny child develop opinions. Instead of a default of happy, he now sometimes decides he doesn’t like something. Most of the time, what he doesn’t like is sitting still. We still get the 100 watt gummy smiles (no teeth yet!) but he is also showing more frustration.

Happily, one of the things that makes Thane very happy indeed is Big Brother Grey. The love and affection that already passes between the two of them makes my heart gooey. Grey patiently puts up with having his hair pulled. He distracts a fussy Thane with funny faces, goofy voices or silly games, often without my asking. He restores lost toys with cheer. He talks about all the things Thane will do when Thane is a big boy like Grey. He often wants to play family, where there’s a mommy, a daddy, a Grey and a Thane. His animal babies are all named Thane and all treated with tender lovingcare. For his part, Thane rarely looks anywhere else when he can see his brother. (Less than optimal when one is nursing.) Even between tears, Thane will grin at his big brother. You can see the adoration in his deep blue baby eyes for the hero of the nursery. It warms my heart to see it.

I can tell that the next month will bring big changes. There will be sitting and crawling. Perhaps there will be pulling up to standing. There will be throwing and exploring. He may start encountering foods he can serve himself. My baby is turning into a boy. Oh! I will miss the baby! But I will also enjoy the boy.

Am I growing up too fast for you?
Am I growing up too fast for you?