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Our lil guy is getting so big, he doesn't even want to sit in his carseat 🙂

We have a lovely night time routine.  Lil Z-Bear gets a bath, gets dressed in a pair of cozy pajamas, I hold him and walk around the house with the lights turned low, and if he is in a good mood we sit down and read a book.  Goodnight Moon has been our favorite for some time (there is an unspoken genius to the pages ‘Good night nobody, Good night mush’) but lately he has been favoring Guess how much I love you.  I think he likes the pictures of the hare hopping around.  Then he does the magic move – he rubs his eyes and nose and I know it is time for bed.  I lay him down in his Sleep Sack, turn on his Sleep Sheep and also his Glow Seahorse.  After a few more words of encouragement, a prayer, and a few rubs of his belly, I turn on his Turtle and walk out.  I don’t stand around to wait for him to fall asleep because if I am in the room he continues to smile at me and fights sleep. 

His crib looks so cozy that I fight the urge to climb in with him and fall asleep next to him.  But we have never been co-sleepers.  Not because as parents we didn’t want him to sleep with us, but because he prefers to sleep alone.  When our little cub was a wee little thing, he would sleep in the bassinet in our room next to our bed.  This way when he would wake up every two to three hours for his feeding, he was right there at arm’s reach.  But if I ever brought him in the bed next to us, he would fuss and not fall asleep.  He just liked his own space.  In the day time he took his naps in his room in the crib and at night we brought him into our room.  Then one night it was time for bed and he hadn’t woken up from his nap in his crib.  So we brought the baby monitor into our room and fell asleep knowing he would be waking us up soon.  We woke up 6 glorious hours later to his cries (the longest he had ever slept at night at the time) and we were surprised he had slept so long.  Then we discovered a pattern, he slept longer in his crib in his room at night than in his bassinet next to us.  So, although as a mama I sniffled a little that he was growing up, we permanently moved him to his own room.

I love reading about other mamas who enjoy the benefits of co-sleeping, but alas, it just isn’t for us.  Not because we willed it so, but because our little guy likes his independence and he doesn’t like to share a sleeping space!

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I used to be very by-the-book on what solids to feed Lil Z-Bear.  He started with a little bit of rice cereal at around 4 months, and then around 6 months we introduced bananas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  We slowly kept building his repertoire with single ingredient mashed and strained fruits and veggies (although I did add spices to his food early on).  I waited longer than the required 3 days between new foods, and every time he ate something new a part of me felt nervous.  At 8 months now, I have stopped being so cautious.  Because Lil Z wants to eat whatever we are eating.  So instead of letting a chart decide what is and isn’t ok for him, I am letting him lead.  And I found out I am not unique in this; there is a whole slew of baby-led weaning mothers out there. 

Now when Z-Bear sits at the table with us, I give him little morsels of whatever we are eating and he loves it!   I have been horrified for so long by seeing what passes as ‘Country Chicken Dinner’ in a jar at the store.  It seems unnatural for baby not to know what real food should smell, look and taste like.   He has no teeth yet, but I am in love with how he chews his food.  I cannot help but wonder if chewing is a natural reflex just like sucking is for babies, or if he is imitating what we are doing.  Either way, he loves to be included during meal time.

This weekend I made curried chicken, and I fed it to him with bits of naan and he was delighted.  He did not mind one bit that there was red cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of green chilies in the dish.  He LOVED the spicy taste and he had no irritation after eating it either.  I love this new stage with the little one because now I am mindful of preparing food that is more organic and has very little salt so it is good for mama and papa as well.  And although I still continue to feed him home made baby food, he can have a few nibbles with us too.

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Moments

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Yesterday evening when I got home from work, Lil Z-Bear was a bit irritable.  He had only taken 15 minutes of his 5 pm nap, so it was probably because he was tired.  I bathed him and gave him a rub with lotion.  That usually calms him down, and then we play for a bit before giving him his last bottle of the day and by 8 he is ready for bed.  Last night it didn’t work, he was over-excited during his bath and then he just got cranky after that.  He didn’t even want to take his bottle and we weren’t quite sure why he was being so uncooperative.  So papa and I dimmed the lights and I cradled Lil Z in my arms while papa stood close to us and held his bottle to feed him.  And we hummed to our little cub and we swayed back and forth.  Papa put one arm around us both, and there we stood in a circle swaying and humming to our child.  He quieted down and began to drink his milk.   Papa and I continued our little dance, talked in hushed whispers to our Z-Bear, and planted soft kisses on his cheek.  Lil Z finished his milk, closed his eyes and we put him to bed.  We turned the lights back on and went back to our daily routine.  I started making dinner while Papa finished some work. But during those precious minutes, the world stood still and it was a perfect moment.  One I knew I will remember, God willing, many years from now when Z-Bear is grown and I’ll shake my head and wonder where the years have gone.

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It was a nice relaxed weekend with the cub.  There was a lot of time spent laying on the floor with Lil Z-Bear and papa staring at the clouds through our skylights.  It doesn’t get better than that!  Here are the highlights of the weekend:

We received an exersaucer/walkaround as a gift this weekend.   We weren’t too sure about it since we weren’t really planning on using one for Lil Z, but he was quite content and spent a good amount of time enjoying his new toy.

Saturday night we met up with some friends to eat dosas.  I hadn’t actually eaten these before until I met my husband who is South Indian.  So of course we had to let Lil Z-Bear try some too, and he enjoyed munching on a piece of the crepe-like wrap and he was definitely a fan!  (And as you can see, I was busy stuffing my mouth with these too :)).

I spent a good part of Sunday making a week-long supply of food for Lil Z.  Check him out drooling over his favorite vegetable: a butternut squash almost as big as him!

Even the most mundane of weekends are loads of fun with you our Lil Z-Bear!

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Lil Z-Bear, you keep growing so fast, I don’t even have time to document new things you are learning before you do something even cuter.  Each and every one of them endear you even more to me cub.  Here is a list of a few things you’ve been doing since you turned 7 months old that have me entranced!

 – You are sitting up unsupported and even reaching for things.  I love how you look up at us with an awestruck look on your face that says “Hey, I’m actually doing this!”  And yes, sometimes I succumb to fits of laughter when you wobble, topple over, and fall back.  It’s just so darned cute. 

– You don’t quite babble.  Instead, you sing.  It sounds sweet as a bird, with low and high pitches and some humming thrown in between.

–  When you cry, you utter something that sounds a lot like “Mumma”.  I thought it was just me hearing something I’ve been longing to hear, but your papa definitely hears it too.

– You happily eat everything that we feed you.  And you open your mouth wide as soon as you see a spoon. 

– You lift up your legs and grab on to your feet when we change you or after a bath.  It melts my heart every time you do.

– When you roll over, you give us a look that says “Look what I just did guys, now ooh and aah over me!”  And you wait patiently for mama or papa to animatedly acknowledge what you just did, and then you smile.

– You are an AMAZING sleeper; I can’t believe how lucky we are with that!  My favorite part is how you rub your face and eyes, and we know that’s the signal to put you to bed.

– You love to drink water and juice from your sippy cup (With our assistance.  We help you hold the cup since you can’t drink all by yourself yet).   Also, it only took a handful of tries before you got the hang of it!  And when mama and papa drink a glass of water you absolutely MUST have a sip of it also.  And I am amazed at how well you can drink from a glass if we hold it to your lips.

–  I love the way your eyes observe every minute detail around you, and the way your hands grab things and feel the texture of walls, cloths, carpets, floor, and toys.  You have become quite the thinker lately and you seem a much more serious baby who is in awe of the world and your surroundings.

– With all the things that have changed as you have gotten older, I am glad about something that hasn’t: your smell.  That familiar Lil Z-Bear smell that lingered the first day I held you in my arms is still there in your clothes, your toys, and every time I pick you up.

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Lil Z-Bear hit a big emotional milestone this weekend – Stranger anxiety.

I have mixed feelings about it.  I must confess, part of me thought he may skip it all together.  He has a sweet, happy temperament and is a very social and interactive baby, so I thought maybe he’d continue to take to strangers just as well as he does to those familiar to him.  But much to our surprise, when handled a couple of times by people he doesn’t know too well, he shed some big, fat tears and was scrambling to be held by mama or papa to be comforted.

It has caused some anxiety in us as well.  It created quite a stir to see him so unsettled, even by our nanny who just came back after a 3 and half week vacation.  Even though he has always been quite fond of her, it seems that he has forgotten who she is.  Or maybe he has gotten too accustomed to having mama and papa around.  And nothing piles on the mama guilt more than watching him wail when I leave the house to go to work (or even when I leave the room, he seems quite upset when he sees mama disappear). 

However, a part of me is thrilled also.  Not because he is upset, but because I can’t believe this little boy of ours who means more to us than anything in this world feels just as attached to us.  It really makes us feel like superstars, the fact that just mama and papa alone can make his day.  But even so, we are already making plans on how we can expose the little cub to more people so he becomes at ease with everyone.  And because we want our Lil Z-Bear to freely give and receive love from as many people as possible.

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