At first he was so sullen...
Which escalated to agitated...
And then came angry...
And then he was gone...
Ahhh, such is the life of my busy little man. No time to sit around and smile for pictures when there are so many of Lily's unsuspecting toys just waiting to be destroyed!! December went by in the blink of an eye, but luckily I took a million pictures this month to document all of the fun we had. Ben changed more this past month than any other period of time up to now.
We have settled back in to our normal routine after being in Maine for Christmas. Ben's day looks something like this:
7:00am - Wake Up! Babble and bounce loudly to be sure that Lily is also awake.
7:45am - Mommy kicks Daddy out of bed to go get the kids, she can sense when the natives are getting restless.
8:00am - 6oz bottle and a diaper change make for a happy baby.
9:00am - Exhausted from being out of bed for an hour, Ben desperately whines to nurse and go down for a nap.
10:30am - Wakes up, fusses for a few minutes, finds blankie and possibly even paci and goes back to sleep.
11:00am - Officially ready to rejoin Lily for some play time.
11:30am - Nurses for 5-10 minutes in 30 second intervals. Mommy thinks this is especially annoying. Ben doesn't care in the least what Mommy thinks.
12:30pm - Lunch!
1:30pm - Afternoon nap.
3:30pm - Regardless of how much or how little sleeping was done, Mommy caves and nap is over.
3:30pm - A little more pop-on/pop-off nursing
3:35-5:15pm - Playtime, mostly used for tormenting his big sister, touching absolutely everything naughty, repeatedly getting stuck under the exersaucer, scaling the couch, and banging things just to see what happens.
5:15pm - Dinner!
5:30-6:45pm - More play time, mostly supervised by Daddy. Mommy suspects someone is going to break something one day very soon. Hopefully it is the coffee table and not someone's nose.
7:00pm - Bedtime! A 6oz bottle, story, and lights out.
7:45pm - Last peep...although most nights we do not turn on the monitor until later, so this is just an estimate.
Again this month I do not have any stats or numbers but I would be willing to bet that Ben will still be in the lower percentages come his 9 month appointment at the end of January. After his crazy growth spurt in November I haven't noticed any significant change in his weight or length. He is still wearing size 2 (*correction! sz 3) diapers and 6-9 month clothes fit a little snug, whereas 9m are really too long.
Dislikes: Being told "no", something about the high chair (we can't pinpoint exactly what he is so unhappy about), not being able to reach something, sleeping through the night.
Nicknames: Lily has started calling him Benja...so now we all do it obviously.
Milestones: Crawling, pulling up, cruising the furniture, distinct babbling of both Mama and Dada...on a few occasions it seemed awfully deliberate, a million new foods.
Feeding: Nursing is still chugging along. My supply has remained about the same for the past few months and barring something beyond my control I fully expect to continue to nurse Ben on a similar schedule for the next couple of months. I know as he begins to eat more solids he may want to drop one of the daytime nursings, but for now I am going to be pretty insistent on them. I don't love pumping, in fact I really dislike it, but giving Ben a nice big bottle at bedtime is the only way I can be sure that his nocturnal shenanigans are not the result of being hungry. In theory the morning bottle should afford me an extra hour of sleep but it almost never happens.
I have always had a harder time reading Ben than I ever did Lily, and the topic of solids is proving to be no exception. Ben seems to like food but for some inexplicable reason cries through every meal. Some meals go better than others, but I haven't noticed any obvious patterns. He seems to cry a little less (??) for Matt than when I feed him. Clearly I am finding it hard to describe...it isn't screaming but it is more than fussing, and he doesn't turn away from the spoon, but he isn't exactly bouncing in anticipation either. It is very odd. The minute the meal is over he is back to mr. happy-go-lucky. I am certainly open to hypotheses on this one...
Sleeping: Ben is not sleeping through the night. To say that this statement doesn't horrify me would be a lie. I am known to get up a time or two (or twelve) to pee during my second and third trimesters. Given that fact, it has officially been more than a year since I have slept through the night with any kind of consistency...more than a year. Maybe there are some other moms out there shaking their sympathetic heads at that statement (my whole heart goes out to you!) but my suspicion is that the majority of the people who read this blog have no idea what it is like to go a full calendar year without sleeping more than a few hours at a time. I wouldn't wish this kind of torture on my worst enemy.
In the name of being completely honest some nights are significantly better than others...and some nights are much MUCH worse. As I have said before I am a supporter of a little cry it out sleep training, as is my pediatrician. A little over four months ago I started to let Ben cry himself to sleep at nap time and it worked like a charm. He may not be a marathon nap taker, but I put the kid down in his crib wide awake twice a day, and he never cries and always soothes himself to sleep. At night it is a whole other
nightmare story. He goes down just fine. He and Lily chatter and play a bit, but in less than 30 minutes both kids are out like a light. Dingle and I check on the kids before we go to bed around 10:30 and Ben stirs a little but usually stays asleep. At some point between 12:45 and 2 he wakes up screaming bloody murder. This screaming usually only lasts a few minutes, but it scares me to death and I lay awake in bed watching him on the baby monitor. For the next hour he alternates between fussing and sleeping and I do not usually feel compelled to go in and soothe him (but I am certainly not sleeping either). On really bad nights he continues fussing for more than an hour, I go in to soothe him, he gets even more mad, wash-rinse-repeat until dawn.
With Ben it is always something. First it was teething, then a major growth spurt, after that a horrible cold, and now...who knows, possibly another growth spurt or more teeth? The guy, and by extension I, can't catch a break. All I know is that every night I go to bed hoping to sleep for more than four hours and very rarely do I get to. (sidebar: For those of you wondering why I don't go to bed earlier...that is the downside of pumping a bottle for Matt to give him in the morning. The only way to pump enough milk is to stay up a little later. Like I said, in theory it is an excellent plan...in practice it worked beautifully with Lily...bottom line I need to be more resolved to stay in bed in the morning.)
At this point feeling rested is a distant memory. It makes me sad that I am so tired. Some days I feel like I am the worst version of myself for my kids and my husband. I want to want to play, and make a delicious dinner, and keep a clean house but I am just too worn out. I just have to keep telling myself it will not be like this forever.
Odds and Ends: Ben is so wonderful. I know that might seem like a silly statement given the above paragraphs, but it really is true. He is crazy about me, and I am a sucker for babies that are crazy about me. He is so busy, busy, busy during the day but just before (and sometimes after) naps he still likes to be cuddled for a few minutes. He snuggles his little head in to my neck and just lays there being held. Understandably, it is my favorite three minutes of every day.
From this point forward whenever I say that Ben is "busy" you should read: "you people are screwed." We are seriously under prepared for such an active baby. Lily didn't really get to moving until she was 10 months old, and even when she did she was so cautious and delicate. We never baby proofed a thing, and to the best of my recollection she never broke anything. Just today Ben knocked a candle off the entertainment center, repeatedly knocked over the cat's water bowl, and pulled my laptop off the coffee table. All of the above was done under my supervision, what can I say...he is strong and he moves so damn fast! He is very busy.
It took Ben less than three weeks to master crawling, pulling up on everything, AND cruising the furniture. Today on several separate occasions I witnessed him in the "bear-crawl" position as if he was thinking about standing up on his own. Seriously Ben, s-l-o-w down. I am too tired to literally chase you around the house. Can't you just sit on the couch and read books for an hour with me and your sister? (High-five Lily you are awesome!)
The holidays went by in a blur and I felt a little bad that "Ben's First Christmas" was completely over shadowed by "Lily's Third Christmas" - yes I know that isn't really a thing but you get what I am saying? Lily was just so excited, and for the first time sort of understood presents and Santa...and no one could outrun the whole wonderful tornado of it all. Ben didn't even wear the baby's first Christmas onesie Mimi bought for him. An oversight on my part for sure. All that being said, we had an amazing Christmas as a family of four and I still can't get over how much our lives have changed since last year. I do have a Christmas pictures post in the queue, stay tuned.
Up next: 9 month check up, the addition of a third meal per day, and some serious baby proofing...Ben is busy!