Birthday hike

Spent the day after my birthday on a family outing up to Greenfield that started with the hike the photo below was taken on, then hit the People’s Pint for lunch and Greenfield Games for fun. Great, great day.

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Brady’s 8th and 9th month

My son Brady was 8 months old on the 22nd of August and 9 months on the 22nd of September. As in past months, I’m recording the big events each month, though late august/early September are so busy for me at work that I’ve had to combine two months into one.

Developmentally, he’s increasingly alert. He knows his name and will turn to you if you say it. More generally, if he hears things, he will try to turn to see them. He continues to play around with vocalizations, though nothing like words yet. His only ability to really communicate verbally is ‘sad groans’,’ happy giggles,’ and ‘I love you man’ cooing and eye contact.  In terms of understanding me, he usually recognizes if I say ‘UP!” which I’ve been doing whenever I pick him up, and that’s it so far beyond his name.

[addendum for the 9th month: he recognizes more now. He knows what his hands are, or at least will respond when I ask him to give me his hands, which we do a lot as we help him learn to walk by holding his hands while he prances around. He also generally knows who ‘Mom’ is, and sometimes gets really excited playing the ‘where’s mom!’ game, which we often do after his breakfast. More generally, he seems to be picking up on intent a lot, recognizing what’s about to happen and what it will mean for him. For example, when I get him out of his crib, I used to have to take his pacifier out of his mouth, and as I did that I would say, ‘can I have that?’ Now, as often as not he knows he’s going to lose it, and spits it out as I reach for it.]

Physically, he can now sit up reliably and stably, though he still topples over a fair amount. He can’t yet get into a sitting position on his own. His hand dexterity increases almost daily. He’s still a klutz, but he can pick things up, pass them from hand to hand, rotate them, and most importantly draw them towards his mouth. Everything goes in his mouth. His legs are strong and he loves when I hold his hands so he can stand and bounce up and down on his legs. He often gets very excited when we do this. He also can ‘walk’ when I do this, though he prefers the bouncing. He can’t yet crawl. He pushes his butt in the air and every now and then he gets up on all fours, but he hasn’t worked out how to move himself forward.

[addendum for the 9th month. He can crawl now. He’s still clumsy and slow and gets frustrated, but he literally went from ‘butt in air, but at best backwards progress’ to ‘I totally know how to crawl, I just am not very good yet,’ in the course of about 5 days in late September. We helped in this process, by plopping him in his play area and building towers of wooden blocks – he likes toppling them over, so we started building towers in different parts of the play area, which seem more than anything to have served as his motivation to learn to crawl.

He’s also become totally squirmy, almost never willing to sit quietly cradled in our arms. Instead he’s a wriggling bouncy mass of ‘I’m mobile, let me explore!’ energy.

Food wise, the last two months have seen him eat meat (fish and chicken so far – he loves the fish but at best only tolerates the chicken), a ton of new fruits and veggies, including citrus (kiwi, which he liked), many different kinds of squashes and beans, potatoes, carrots, some grains and cereals, and probably a bunch of other things I’ve forgotten already. He’s also started drinking a lot of water, though somehow we failed to teach him to use his spillproof sippy cup so far, so drinking is either supervised or really messy.

He had his first significant illnesses since his difficult first couple of weeks. First he got a lesion about the size of a pencil eraser from a diaper rash, which had us putting antibiotic ointment on him for about 2 weeks. Then, he got a fever of 103 that lead to a bad cough, gallons of mucus, and no sleep for anyone. This was at first diagnosed as RSV, a common virus that most people get before the age of 2. It’s usually not dangerous, but in any case it turns out that’s not what he had – what it was we’ll never know, but it took 2 weeks for him to recover, during which he was pretty miserable – exhausted from lack of sleep, temperamental as a result, and prone to occasional shrieking fits of unhappiness. We had not seen anything like this from him before. The good news is things seem to be returning to normal – yesterday he was in most all respects back to his even-keeled, eager to smile, curious little self, hanging out with Dad watching the Giants beat the hated Eagles.

He had a number of firsts across these two months, including going to his first baseball game (Seadogs in Portland Maine – I love going to games in that park), taking his first shower (with Dad, as we tried to help him get the mucus out of his system – he totally loves the shower),’ swimming’ with the family at a local lake, which truth be told he didn’t like too much, we think he didn’t like being strapped into the life preserver, and hiking with him Mom and Soolin in the woods, which he liked.

As usual Susan’s been good about getting photos posted, though she’s been busy too so we are a little behind, but here’s a sample from this month. Click the image to head over to the gallery:

Brady checking out his first baseball game

Houston, we have a crawler

Suddenly, Brady seems to have figured out how to crawl. He’s still not very good at it, and gets frustrated as often as he makes forward progress, and mostly his forward progress is measured in inches followed by more frustration, still, he’s begun. We’re pleased as punch 😉 A picture to commemorate the occasion:

Brady’s 7th month

Brady is 7 months old today. We’ve had another great month. He continues to sleep pretty reliably through the night, heading up for bed at 6:30 and usually fast asleep by 7:30, then not waking till around 6AM. We continue to introduce new foods to him, this month including:

  • Rice cereal, often mixed with fruit (he likes most of these concoctions)
  • Peaches (he thought they were just ok)
  • Melon mango yoghurt soup (he hated it)
  • A couple of different squashes (which aside from the summer squash he had already tried, he seems to like)
  • Water – he got his first sippy cup. He hasn’t figured out it’s for water, mostly he thinks it’s a chew toy, but he does like to play with it and it’s spill proof. The actual act of drinking water he is fine with, but we have to do it for him.

He’s exhibited a number of new behaviors, including:

  • The first signs of free will. He often refuses to allow you to put his pacifier into his mouth, preferring instead to take it from you and plop it in himself.
  • Vocalizations with meaning. He doesn’t know any words, but he has sound patterns he uses to let you know he’s unhappy and wants change, which start with grunts and plaintive groans. He’ll make eye contact with you and make those noises, clearly saying ‘whatever I’m doing right now is not pleasing me. Make it change pops!’ If you ignore him he escalates to whimpering and then tears and wails. Recovering from wails can be hard, so generally we try and get involved when he starts complaining.
  • He’s realized he has legs. He can bend at the waist, and pulls his legs up till he’s in an L shape. He also discovered he has feet, and the first week or so that he first realized this you could constantly find him bending himself in half staring at his feet, touching them, and even putting them in his mouth.
  • Progress on the locomotion front. He can’t yet crawl, but he can move, most amusingly when he sticks his butt in the air and slides forward on his face, but he also scrunches around. He doesn’t have great control over direction yet – if you put a toy in front of him where he can see it when he’s on his playmat, he’ll often try desperately to get to it, moving around but not necessarily towards it. This can sometimes escalate frustration to the point where he starts wailing, but mostly he just grunts in frustration.
  • Something to do with neurological development that has him simultaneously rotating his wrists and ankles on their axis while also flexing his leg and arm muscles. He looks like he’s trying to do the wave or conduct an orchestra while dancing. It’s very peculiar. Presumably it has to do with reflex and musculature development. I don’t recall any of my siblings doing it though. There’s a link to a quicktime video of this below:

brady_movement_video

This was also a month of many transitions:

  • Susan’s Mom Linda stopped coming every week. She had been coming to care for him 2 days a week. He’s too young to notice of course, though his face brightens when he sees her. She was a fantastic help to us and allowed us to keep him out of daycare several extra months, and we’re grateful for it. At the same time, I’m happy to have my house back to myself 😉
  • He started daycare. His first day perfectly captures how this has gone for him. I brought him into the baby room and he looked around, saw several new adults and toddlers, and busted out with a huge grin. We get daily reports from the daycare center and with 2 exceptions they have always characterized his mood as ‘happy.’ We’re blessed with a seemingly happy and adaptable kid. We’re also fortunate to be able to drop him off and pick him up together most days, and it’s a beautiful thing to walk into the toddler room to pick him up in the afternoon and get a beaming grin of recognition when he sees me.
  • Stopped sleeping in a swaddle. Early in the month we stopped swaddling him, and now he sleeps as he pleases, sometimes even on his stomach. He’s also able to recover from the loss of his pacifier sometimes, rolling around till he can grasp it and plopping it back in himself. We need to get a good picture of his sleeping posture though as it’s pretty cute – he lays completely splayed out, the picture of exhaustion.
  • Went on his first camping trip, and his second. The first one was for the annual Kids Camping Weekend with my college and NY friends. This was at a resort campground in PA (running water, electricity, and cable tv at every campsite?!?). He had a blast and was the center of attention with all the kids, often surrounded by 6-8 children all vying to get his attention and pleading for a chance to hold him. Mostly he handled this fairly well though it was occasionally overwhelming for him. His second trip is with Susan to her annual Falcon Ridge Music Festival expedition, which he’s at right now. It’ s brutally hot, though Mom reports all is well.

To sum up, things are going great. He’s a happy kid, seems to be developing comfortably, and has accepted the transitions he’s gone through this month easily and with little trouble. The only negative thing that I can think of from this month was him developing a fever and a case of the crankypants after he saw the doctor for some vaccinations.

As per usual Susan’s done a great job posting tons of photos. Here’s this month’s gallery, and here’s one of my favorite shots from this month:

Photo of the hamilton kimball family after kids camping weekend 2011

The family sans Soolin just before leaving Kids Camping Weekend 2011

and another of my favorites, just because it so well captures his personality:

a photo of my son Brady with a huge smile

Brady's most common facial expression

How to feed your baby

By Susan, with an assist (I weed the garden) from David:

peas growing in our garden

Step 1 - Grow then pick the peas

picture of shelled peas

Step 2: Shell the peas

Step 3: Steam the peas

Step 4: Puree the peas

Step 5: store the peas

Step 6: Enjoy delicious peas