Sleep is good.  Tristan seems to be learning this.  He’s finally getting pretty good at taking his naps (at least at night — Kirin could speak more for the daytime).  Basically, if he’s sleepy, taking him upstairs and laying with him on the bed tends to calm him enough that he can be put down in his crib, and actually sleep.   

We’ve also learned (from watching Grandma Linda!) that Tristan is generally soothed by the patting on the back.  Not something we’d really noticed before, but, for instance, tonight, he woke up after being in the crib for ~15 minutes;  I simply went up, started patting him on the back, and boom, out he goes again.  Total nap time tonight:  3+ hours. 

In part, I’d worried that he’d wind up sleeping less overnight as a result, but in the past couple of weeks, he’s actually been really good about sleeping 7+ hours. 


Also:  he’s been relatively good about riding in the car – which is good.  We’ve been touring various parts of town, looking at houses – sometimes spending hours in the car, driving in circles.   He’s worse about it when we actually stop to go inside – he tends to fuss when we put him back in the car.

5 months old

The older Tristan gets, the faster time seems to fly!

Motor skills:
He’s been sitting up for a while when placed in the proper position, and he’s getting better at it – no more frog-sit. He’s also been rolling over in his crib, so most of the time we place him in on his back and find him on his stomach. He can grab for toys way more purposefully now and shake his rattle, and can almost get a bottle into his mouth, although not in the proper position to drink from it.

The solid foods are going slowly, as they should in the beginning, but at least he’s sort of drooling the rice cereal out and not forcefully ejecting it. We’ve been slipping him formula for the greater part of the past month mixed with human milk, and he’ll drink it the formula at about a 3:1 ratio of formula (James, correct me if I am wrong here :P) to milk, but he still isn’t interested in formula without any milk added. We officially switched to faster flow bottle nipples and just recently switched to Vent-Aire bottles (we found that damn missing bottle, by the way, it was under the bed) since we had a stash of them and we needed bigger bottles. He’s increased his feeding size to about 5-7 ounces per feeding, but we realize that some of this may be due to the differing ingredients in the bottle as well (although this is the age that the bottles are supposed to get bigger but less frequent). I’ve dropped the afternoon pumping session since I am beginning to taper off the pumping in general – we have quite the freezer stock, to the point where it really doesn’t fit in the freezer anymore – and we have a separate freezer that only has bags of milk in it (something to the extent of 50 5oz bags).

He loves his reading video and whether or not he learns to read from it, it’s been a great distraction for times when I need him to not cry for attention or entertainment, like when I am pumping. He’s also getting more comfortable with his Exersaucer and has learned a bit more about how to use it, such as pulling on a few of the toys to get them to play music. He still gets bored quickly but quickly seems to have at least 10 more minutes than it did a month ago.

He can sort of repeat “Hi” but other than that, he babbles a lot once in a while and then is pretty quiet the rest of the time. I think he went through a period of two days where he babbled almost constantly but then returned to his usual way of making sounds occasionally. He does giggle a lot and it’s easy to make him smile unless he’s really hungry or really needs to sleep. His changing table is still his favorite place to be entertained, and he’s learning to hold his legs up for a diaper change (I am working on having him do that on command), which I think is about the most adorable thing ever.

He usually sleeps through the night. He’s only woken for a night feeding one day of the past seven. However, we’re having a bit of a challenge getting him to nap properly. I’ve spoiled him a bit or failed to give him a schedule, as his naps have tended to be short (like in the car or the carrier) or on a person (on my lap or this past week, on his grandma’s Magical Snuggle Shoulder). It’s weird, because he goes down in his crib at night without any fuss at all, but we’ve had to let him cry it out a bit to get him to nap in the crib. I’ll discuss crying it out in the next section. Anyway, he’s been getting a lot more sleep in the past week, thanks to the MSS naps, and he seems to be happier for it.

Before I start, I should clarify that I define discipline not as punishment but as the teaching of behaviors. After getting our pets, I learned about the simple relationship between behavior and reward, and I am hoping to employ that in teaching Tristan good behavior. I fully admit that as a first time parent that I’m not going to get things right, but I do feel that it’s my and James’s responsibility to teach our kid not to be a little asshole as soon as he understands cause and effect. I don’t think a person learns much from being constantly told NOT to do things, because he or she is thereby receiving reinforcement in the form of attention for just the thing that you’d like to change about them.

The clawing thing is going to take a lot of work or a higher level of understanding, though – Tristan likes to grab a big handful of flesh and sink his claws into it.

Anyway, discipline is taking two forms right now: verbal reward for things he does that we’d like him to repeat, and ignoring behavior we’d like him not to repeat. Tristan responds very well to a high-pitched squealy proclamation of “Look at that baby!” and seems to repeat behavior that I catch with that praise. At least I don’t have to give him a food treat like our furry critters! Anyway, Tristan does seem to delight in performing cute little tricks and I’m really encouraged by that.

The other part is not so cute or fun: we’re trying to teach him to take a nap and that crying his eyes out when he’s alone in his crib isn’t a way to get attention. I will just say that even when you know your baby is fed, is warm enough, has a clean diaper, and is generally comfortable, that letting him (or her) scream in a crib is nearly torturous. I hate doing it. But I acknowledge that teaching him to scream for attention is counterproductive. At this point, he has every right to cry for food or because he’s uncomfortable, but his wonderful sleeping skills go to shit during naps. There are a lot of people who are opposed on principle to letting a baby cry it out, and I can see why, but I think I’m doing him a disservice if I teach him that hysterical crying has a reward, if that makes sense. He needs the sleep and we need to teach him to sleep when he’s tired. And we have a monitor that we use to watch that he’s not stuck or in trouble while we’re trying to let him figure out how to sleep. We’ve been doing this sporadically and experimentally during the past week and couple of days, so we’ll surely have progress of some sort to report on.

Anyway, enough rambling and congratulations for having made it through this novel!

Tristan starts solids, gets snuggled

Tristan’s almost 5 months old, and tonight we decided to plug his face with some rice cereal, maybe a teaspoonful. He enjoyed playing with the spoon and took the food off the spoon well (we had one for him and one for the food), but he was really confused by the texture of the food and got fairly fussy. I’ve been assured by his grandma (James’s mom), who’s been out visiting us for the week, that his reaction was standard. But it has started! Out tiny little (who are we kidding, huge giant) baby is officially taking food! Sort of. He’s officially getting food in his mouth and all over everything else! And he’s really been enjoying time with his grandma, who has a talent for making him fall asleep snuggled up to her in a way that we can’t get close to replicating.

Coordination et cetera

During the past day, I’ve noticed Tristan developing a bit more coordination. He’s managed to grab the toys on the handle of his carseat and actually play with them, deliberately grab his rattle and shake it (before he’d sort of half-assededly grab it and just hold it), and maneuver a bottle that I was bringing to the sink into his mouth while I was holding him, even though there was nothing in it to drink (at least it was just the past feeding and not a really old one!)

As far as feeding goes, we’ve restarted on the formula after stopping due to his system umm, not giving output for a couple of days, and he seems fine now. Right now we’re feeding him a 2:3 mixture of formula to breastmilk. We also reswitched the bottle nipples to medium flow so he’s not collapsing them quite so much anymore (but he’s not used to drinking quite so fast, so there’s a period of adjustment that we’re working on). We’re trying to figure out just how much he is eating but it’s hard to tell between the mixing in of the formula, the easier-to-suck bottle nipples, and him just plain getting bigger.

I’ve been wearing him in the Mei Tai most of the time – haven’t used the other two carriers in a while. People coo over Tristan quite often, probably because he’s right there and staring at them. He grins at most people of either gender who take the time to talk to him. I think that wearing a baby around makes having a baby that much more fun because he’s part of things – he looks around curiously and I explain what I see, what is going on. I’m sure a lot of people who hear me talking think I’m batshit insane but screw them, there’s a baby in the sling who loves it. 🙂

Also, he has gotten VERY babbly in the past day or so, almost to the point of being chatty except that there are no words in there quite yet. It’s really adorable, especially since he never bothered other than random babbling before.

Fingernail clipper cut

I hear that this happens to everyone who uses nail clippers eventually, but Tristan just got his first cut on his left thumb from the fingernail clipper. He was pissed off for maybe a minute but he thought that the cleaning up process was amusing so he kept grinning while we were in the bathroom. Several drops of baby blood on waving arms turn into little blood stains everywhere, and babies who suck on their bloody thumbs drool bloody drool. He seems to be just fine, though. He hasn’t even put the bandaid in his mouth yet.

Update from James: 20 minutes later, Tristan starts coughing. Tristan has managed to ninja his hand into his mouth, mouthed the bandaid off, and started trying to choke on it. All without me noticing his hand going anywhere NEAR his mouth, whilst I was actively trying to keep the hand out of his mouth.

Anyhow, when he started coughing, I flipped him face down (good instinct I suppose: Infant Choking Rescue Procedure)) and he quit doing so. It wasn’t ’til I flipped him back over that I noticed that the band aid was off (seriously: I was trying to keep the hand out of his mouth, I didn’t even consider he could have ninja’d the hand in). We did a little search trying to find it (we thought he might have swallowed it at that point), and sat him down on the changing table when we couldn’t find it, only to see him starting to basically start chewing; sure enough, he still had it in his mouth.

Extracted, and all better now (though the thumb is still bleeding), but scary nonetheless. He’s now wearing a sock over a vastly oversized bandaid, for safety. If the sock comes off, we’re resorting to duct tape.

Sitting and eating

Tristan’s attempts at sitting have become more refined. We’ll post pictures soon, but he’s doing a bit better than the frog squat. He still needs a spotter to catch him when he goes to faceplant, but he’s sitting all by himself (well, after being placed in a seated position). He’s very intent on learning this new skill.

Also, we have begun to slip him formula in his bottles of milk, since we’re preparing to switch him over sometime within the next two months. He’s been pretty fussy since then, but we also realized that we had a 0-3 month outfit on him lately, so he may be pissed off about that. Hopefully it was just him complaining about tight clothes as opposed to his insides being pissed off at him.

New developments

Tristan is:
– beginning to try sitting up on his own, but it looks sort of like a frog-squat where his hands are on the floor
– holding his own legs up while on the changing table, in diaper-changing position
– getting random tiny amounts of formula mixed into his milk to begin the switchover process, and starting to take it well

We bought his first rice cereal today, but we’re not going to give it to him quite yet. Soon, though. I think we want him happy with taking formula first (though we still have 7 weeks to get that working properly if we need).

We’re contemplating getting him a bathtub seat tomorrow. We did his last two baths by having James pass Tristan to me while I was in the tub and having me wash him there. He seemed to enjoy it a bit more than sitting in the baby tub – then again, these baths were also a bit earlier in the day than we usually have done his baby tub baths. I want to experiment with taking Tristan in the shower with me and he’s now old enough for the baby bath seats that sort of hook in.

We’ve started his second month of reading education DVDs, and he’s really starting to enjoy watching them. Of course, he doesn’t do anything with the information that we can see, but at the very least it’s something fun for him.