I'm sure he's thinking "Now how do I get this in my mouth?" In fact, that had to be what he was thinking because that's exactly where the roll of wrapping paper ended up. Come to think of it, that's where just about everything ends up including his hands...and sometimes mine or any other unsuspecting person's.
Ryan attended his first birthday party today. Our friends Tony & Emma's little girl turned two. In fact, it was this time last year that they learned I was pregnant with Ryan...so maybe this is is second party, technically?
He charmed people today as usual with his little cheeky grin and big muscles. He even managed to get a little kiss of the birthday girl herself!
I actually hadn't taken a photo for today and this was only snapped just moments before starting to get Ryan settled in a quiet room for bed. It reminded me how he makes some of the funniest facial expressions. I've commented that from birth he can look ever so serious sometimes.
Ryan joined in for his first proper Sunday tea this afternoon. He was offered roast carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. The broccoli and cauliflower ended up mashed all over his tray, but he did manage a decent "bite" of carrot so morning will reveal if any was consumed.
The best part about Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is that there is no pressure for him to eat a certain amount and no need to decrease breastfeeding. He is still getting all, if not most, of his nutrients from breast milk and he is being given the chance to choose what goes in his mouth so he's self-weaning at his own pace.
Now despite the timestamp, I'm typing this after midnight as we have just made three attempts to put him down -- each one delaying my typing the blog. So far the longest he has lasted is 35 minutes before waking up in an absolute fit and clenching his gums. I even dosed him with the "heavy duty" baby ibuprofen and he's still feeling pain. We've now followed up with some teething powders to see if that takes the edge off and allows him a bit of sleep.
These teeth better make their cameo soon...or mama bear's going in after them!
Well, there were three in the bed this morning -- until I got out to take the photo. Ryan has been waking more frequently throughout the night and wee hours of morning and we think it has a lot to do with teething and a very stuffy nose. Rather than lie in bed and wait for him to wake me yet again (a feeling I can only imagine is quite similar to Chinese Water Torture), I simply brought him back to bed with me at 6am for a little lie-in with Mommy and Daddy. I only decided to take the photo after noticing that Ryan was stroking Matt's cheek in his sleep.
Okay, maybe that was his "pretend" sleep, but still quite endearing nonetheless.
We all ended up in bed for quite some time this morning and our only plans for the late afternoon and evening were to do what we usually do on a Saturday -- visit Em, Daz & Amy.
Ryan even got to have a go in his cousin's walker. Granted, he can only "walk" backwards so far, but it was cute to see him try. To be fair, I think he was a lot more intrigued by the toys on the walker than the purpose for which it was meant.
Maybe not a mountain, but definitely a big, big hill. By my insistent request, we finally went to Kinver Edge today. We were actually planning our outing to be at Clent Hills, but along the way traffic was rammed so we made a last minute decision to go to Kinver and save Clent for another beautiful day like today.
Kinver Edge was one of the places that Matt brought me when I visited him in England for the first time back in 2006. I fell in love with it then and during our time apart, before I moved here two years later, I would look back at photos and it was always the ones of Kinver that would pull at my heart and make me miss it here even more. In fact, I've been begging to go back and visit since I moved here permanently, but we just haven't had the chance and the weather wouldn't always cooperate.
Kinver Edge isn't exactly push-chair friendly, so Ryan got a ride with me in the Moby. With him gaining weight like he is, I suspect I will need to switch to a woven wrap soon so I can do a "rucksack" carry with him on my back instead -- Mobys tend to stretch a bit as you wear them since they're made of jersey fabric. Plus, some wovens are more lightweight for warmer weather.
We really struck it rich weather-wise today as well with some gorgeous blue skies. In fact, the pictures of the vast countryside you see here don't even do Kinver Edge the justice it deserves. I even swore in some places you could see the silhouette of the mountains along the Welsh border.
I miss Wales, too...but that's another trip...and another blog.
On the way back down to the car park I wanted something to remember the visit by for Ryan. We realise he is only little and he won't remember having visited this place when he was only five months old, so I suggested we pick an interesting rock from every significant place we visit and then write the date and location on the rock. That way, Ryan will always have something along with LOADS of photos to remember it by.
We're really crossing our fingers now that all this fresh air and sunshine will benefit Ryan in his sleep tonight!
Each month, somewhere around the 19th -- or as close as possible -- I take a photograph of Ryan next to a sign indicating how many months old he is at the time. It began with pictures on the settee next to Myst, to show how much he has grown and changed from the last photo, and it has evolved into an elaborate, staged session where I try to provide a newer, season-appropriate outfit and plop him upright in his Bumbo.
I always try to use a toy of some sort to entice a little grin out of him and that usually works...
But more recently the more effective smile-grabber is Daddy! And Daddy was so patient with Mommy barking at him to "hold Yojojo this way" and "try pinching his cheeks" or "jump up and down and smile" and then for me to go on to say "do it again...again...again....wait......again."
The lengths we go through for me to get a "good" smiley, monthly photo from our son.
I love watching the interactions now between the two people I love most. Now that Ryan is more interactive -- grabbing at our fingers and touching our faces -- it is so much fun to just watch the two of them together! I even overheard giggling from the front room one day to find Ryan on his play mat with Matt bent over and crouched underneath (as if he were in a game of Twister) blowing raspberries and tickling his sides.
It makes me so happy to know Ryan will have a good male role model in his life -- someone so honest, sensitive, and caring to look up to.
We've been working a bit on sitting. I'll put Ryan between my legs so I can catch him if he starts to tip over -- which he WILL do. I usually put a selection of toys within his reach to encourage him to lean forward and reach while still balancing his body.
He's doing much better and I imagine it won't be long before he's sitting all on his own!
Today isn't the first day Ryan has tried cucumber, but I have found it to be quite helpful and soothing during this difficult time with teething. It works wonders between doses of Calpol and he seems to really enjoy sucking and slurping on the sticks. I made certain to scrape away the seeds today so he doesn't get all bloated with wind.
In other news...this is my first blog post that has been done on time in roughly a fortnight again. Our Internet came on shortly after 1pm today so we finally have proper services again! Perfect timing as I just received a text last night that I have exceeded the Fair Use policy on my mobile and now I'm restricted on peak-time use from my phone. Oh well, no worries.
At least now I can catch up on my US shows like Grey's Anatomy! Woohoo!
Ryan is still working on his reaching and grabbing skills and managed to haul his Tigger over for a cuddle. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw how it looked because of how big the Tigger looks...but in fairness, he is very light.
Later in the afternoon I was able to witness another one of my little guy's newest tricks...
Now when he is on his belly he can get his knees bent underneath himself and it looks like he is about to start crawling...
...until you blink and he has done a complete face-plant into the play-mat.
It has been unbearably hot the past few days so we decided on a Sunday meal outdoors on the patio. Matt picked up an inexpensive table with a parasol and set of chairs in Brierley Hill and we spent the afternoon sipping on cider and beer.
Ryan was very eager to join in with the grown-ups!
So, I should start by saying that Myst is strictly an indoor cat -- but he doesn't know this. It's not uncommon for him to "slip" out the door when we're coming and going, but he always stops at the bottom of the steps trying to decide what move to make next. By this time we usually catch up to him and manage to tell his furry butt off...right back into the house.
Today Matt came into the front room asking if I had seen the cat. We searched the usual places...upstairs on the bed (where he also isn't allowed), under the settees in the front room, his food dish, the landing at the top of the stairs...all showing no signs of Myst.
Matt figured he would just come out when he was ready and went back to what he was doing. I, however, was more curious so I went upstairs where I could get a good view of the entire back garden. I was surprised at what I saw, so I grabbed my camera and came down the stairs laughing hysterically. He must have slid out the small opening in the dining room window (as most windows here don't have screens) and was settled comfortably sunbathing in the middle of our bluebells.
The funniest part is that the goofus didn't even try to run away. He just sat here as if to say, "So what...I do this all the time. No biggie."
The time has arrived where I can no longer count on my little boy staying in just one place. It seems lately that when I put him one way on his play-mat, he ends up at the opposite end and facing a completely different direction. Then again with so many temptations...crunchy leaf, ring tower, stuffed leopard toy...who wouldn't be all over the place?
I'm so proud of little man! He has mastered Tummy Time now to the point where he feels confident enough to balance his upper body whilst reaching and grabbing for toys that I have placed around the perimeter of his play-mat. He's still rolling tummy to back and is getting better at swinging his hips to roll from his back to his tummy -- although most of the time he gets stuck on his side.
Everything is just happening so quickly now -- SLOW DOWN!!
Carrots and baked potato...plain. Ryan is having his first try at solids tonight. We boiled some carrot sticks and scooped out some of our baked potato for him to experiment with as part of the Baby-Led Weaning that we're going to try. The baked potato was definitely a hit, although not so easy to pick up so maybe we'll wait and try it again when his pincer grasp is more accurate.
He did like the carrots as well and even managed to gum off some chunks and swallow. We think next time we will try them as a roast so they are easier to handle.
It was all so much fun to watch. I made sure to nurse him well before our tea so we were sure he wasn't hungry, but in future we will try to do it all a bit earlier in the evening so he can have a bath after and get sorted for bed.
Now, who's gonna clean up this mess on the dining room floor?!
I read somewhere to bring a blanket along to the park to wrap around your little one so they can use the child-swings in case they're still a bit too big. We tried it on today's visit and I think we'll have to stick to swinging on Mommy's lap a little longer.
In order to give Ryan his Calpol for his aching gums, I have to prop him against some pillows and practically hog-tie his hands. He likes the medicine, so that isn't the issue, but once his gums are in full "ouch" mode, there isn't much reasoning.
How does your heart not break into a million pieces with this sad little face?!
Part of Baby-Led Weaning suggests to start including your baby when you sit at the table so he gets used to sitting together for meals. This also helps because he can observe you eating your food and it's through this observation that he learns what goes on...eating and conversation.
We brought Ryan's high-chair to Em's for Sunday tea and he "ate" at the table with us today. Granted, his "carnivorous" tastes are limited to his rubber giraffe but it was nice to have everyone happily around the dinner table.
Time to start thinking about weaning. Ryan is nearly 5-months-old and once he's 6-months he will begin to need more than just breast milk to thrive. I'm reading a book about Baby-Led Weaning, which basically means that rather than spoon-feeding your baby mashed-up purees, you provide healthy choices in finger-food form so your baby has an opportunity to make choices on what they want to try. The best part of this concept is that in the beginning, the focus is not about how much your baby eats, but rather that your baby is given the chance to explore the natural tastes and textures of food in an effort to increase their confidence in self-feeding as well as create a good-eater.
Matt and I talked about it and decided to give it a try next week since Ryan is already showing signs that he is ready. We know it's a slow process and not to expect that he will actually eat much of what he is offered the first month or so, but we're really looking forward to seeing how he gets on. Either way, the whole idea is to make it fun and enjoyable for Ryan to give him a solid foundation to a healthy relationship with food.
I type this from my G1 as I have encountered yet another hiccup in my determined quest to carry on with my second year of the 365 blog. First of all, the internet I have been using since we moved was via an application on my phone called PDANet, which allowed me to tether my G1 to the PC with a USB cord and use my phone's internet, basically. It was working well and enough for me to catch up on posts that I had fallen behind on from late February when our motherboard went. Then, earlier this week when I tethered my phone I got the message that the trial version of PDANet had expired and all https would now be blocked...so no more secure sites, like my bank, Amazon account, and no logging into e-mail. Since blogger uses my gmail as a log-in, it's considered secure, so although I can view my blog, I can't log in to make posts. Grr.
Top that off with the fact that Sky have FINALLY installed our land-line after being here a month and Matt waited until the line had been active 5 days (as instructed) before ringing to set up our broadband. He was informed it would be yet another fortnight until we would have net because there was a "cooling off" period required from when we had our net disconnected at the old address (which was done in MARCH) until it could be connected at the new. This is leaving us without proper internet through Sky for 7 weeks! Totally unacceptable. People may complain about their cable companies like Time Warner in the US, but never have I had such ridiculous customer service and had to wait an unreasonable amount of time!
So here I am again, missing out on posting blogs. I've still taken photos for each day and as soon as we have adequate net service again, or if I can get to a PC where I can post, the blog will be updated again.
This is Ryan's newest friend, Sophie the Giraffe and as you can see they clearly enjoy a good snog. Since he has been having such a hard time with teething, we decided to make this purchase as Sophie has gotten many positive reviews for soothing sore teething gums.
Sophie has been around for quite some time apparently -- since 1961 in fact. She is made in the French Alps with natural rubber and non-toxic "food" paint. The best part is, she squeaks when you squeeze her. Some may think she is a glorified dog-toy, but not Ryan. This boy is in loooove!
Myst is a big hit and has been from the day Ryan has been able to see more detail. Several times Myst has gotten close enough to brush his fluffy tail across Ryan's cheek resulting in an ear-to-ear smile and often Myst will even walk right up and give Ryan a kitty-kiss or hug. Tonight Matt was showing Ryan how to pet the kitty soft and gently and he couldn't resist giving it a go himself while squealing in delight.
Unfortunately our "bunny" got a bit over-stimulated and clamped a fist onto Myst's soft fur. Matt managed to pry it loose, but not before having to scoop out a Ryan-sized clump of white fluff.
Ryan has been on a bit of a napping strike lately due to a combination of the dreaded "4-month-wakeful" and teething pains. My little guy used to be SO good at going down for naps, but the older he gets, the more he is afraid he will miss something so he fights daytime sleep. As a result he gets over-tired and this makes for a fussy baby.
I finally broke out one of the books from my 'Mommy library' in an effort to preempt any potential night-time sleeping issues.
Dear Son and I went for a leisurely walk through the park this afternoon and then forged on to explore a bit of the new neighbourhood. Along the way we came across an interesting street name. I don't know if many Americans will notice the double-meaning as quickly, but it does make me wonder what people were thinking when they were naming roads in the area...
Anyway, eventually our walk was cut short by some rain-clouds so we changed our pace to nearly legging-it to get back home.
Awe, bless. There's nothing more precious and serene than a sleeping baby. And what's that...baby is asleep BEFORE his bedtime? Excellent! Let's just get this drowsy mite off to his cot upstairs and start the bedtime now-- er, wait. He's still in his clothes. His nappy needs to be changed as well unless you want a 2am blowout.
No problem. Just follow these simple steps to changing a sleeping baby:
Carefully lie baby on changing mat. Feel free to use a pillow to prolong his sensation of being in a comfy sleep.
Gently unbutton the straps on his dungarees making sure to pull them clear of his grabby hands. It may be necessary to hold one's breath during this procedure for added concentration and focus.
Pull dungarees away from body and quietly unfasten the press-studs on under-vest to gain access to nappy.
Gingerly glide new nappy under the nappy to be discarded to make transition quick and avoid too much of a draft, which might otherwise wake said sleeping baby.
Do not, **REPEAT** DO NOT let sleeping baby hear the crinkle of the pack of baby wipes or it is all over from here. If infant DOES awaken during baby wipe extraction...ABORT MISSION!! Immediately begin singing baby's favourite tune -- even if that tune is 'Rubber Ducky' and doesn't fit the situation because it has nothing to do with nappy changing. This will cause an instant distraction and lead him to believe that he has been awake the whole time and thus enjoying the experience.
It's Mother's Day in America, but England celebrates it in March (not sure why they're celebrated on different days). Our busy day began with Ryan filling his fresh nappy less than 3 minutes from when I had JUST changed it.(Happy Mother's Day?) I came back from the trip to the bin to Ryan grinning at Matt, grunting, and a squelchy sound below. I swear he totally knows what he's doing! Of course he gives me this look...
Like any other Sunday, we got the car packed up, baby included, and off we went to Em & Daz's for tea. Ryan spent time in his Bumbo inside his cousin's ball pit and napped in his car seat while we ate. Then it was off to Nan & Grandad's.
Of course this is when Ryan has to show off his bouncing skills to everyone, courtesy of all his air-time in the jumperoo.
Now we're back at the cottage and Ryan has been asleep since we left. To be fair, he napped very little today. In fact, I remember 2 months ago when he would barely stay awake two straight hours. It all changes the older they get...but I wouldn't change it for anything.
I may have celebrated my Mother's Day with the rest of the UK in March, but I still feel as special every day to have such a great little boy!
I'm finally back on track with the blog! (Posts 148 to 218 were done in retrospect due to some unforseen circumstances.) I'm so glad I decided to stick with it and not give up on just the second year of the 365.
This was a scene late this afternoon that was repeated over and over -- Ryan trying to grab Daddy's phone. This particular time (above), he over-calculated and tipped himself sideways...so he switched to a more tactical 'stealth' approach...
"If I just carefully arch my back and slide down, maybe he won't notice be grab it from below..."
Lately when I change Ryan's nappy, he has needed something to occupy his hands so he wouldn't put them...well, where they didn't need to go. His favourite thing to do would be to grab the wipe I had used to cover his bits so he wouldn't hose me down so I found myself forever shoving something into his hands to keep them busy.
The latest development in this scenario is that he has now discovered he has feet, and when I go to lift him to get underneath, he gladly grabs his toes with his hands. I've even caught him with a toe in his mouth (which quite frankly doesn't surprise me at all).
Now, the only trouble with this? Getting him to let go and leave his toes in tact.
Tesco Extra in Cradley Heath has quite a selection of boys' t-shirts for £1.50 a piece. We picked up several today along with a new dungaree outfit and a pair of 3-6 month trainers since he has outgrown his 0-3's. Daddy picked out this one and we both think it suits him well.
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!