Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Year 2 Day 335: This is the Life

Yep, just sitting out on the patio, enjoying a yummy lunch of carrots, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, and mashed-egg sandwiches! This was Ryan's first taste of an egg hard-boiled. He has had them scrambled before, but definitely an interesting alternative.

Every bite went down the hatch!

Later, when he went down for his afternoon nap, I went looking online for templates to use with my genealogy findings. I came across a file from My Family Search (which is associated with LDS), but when I downloaded it, I didn't get a template, but instead a video welcoming and thanking me for becoming a volunteer indexer.


I decided to give it a shot and basically you have access to loads of world records, from the census, military, taxes, birth, marriage, death, etc. You are required to decipher the chicken scratch handwriting and complete a spreadsheet (included in the program). Then you submit it and it becomes part of the world wide web for people to do searches on. I figure this is me doing my part since I know how difficult it is to find a complete set of records when you're searching for ancestors.

If you're interested in genealogy, you should really consider doing this. You can invest as little or as much time as you'd like. Plus, for me...I find it a bit interesting to read about other lives. Like this one in the photo for example (last names censored as I don't want to break my indexing oath). This is a record of a marriage license where the bride-to-be was underage and needed parental consent to get married. Unfortunately, the genius who photocopied this record copied the handwritten note of permission from her mother, over the TOP of the actual marriage license, leaving it non-readable for a majority of the information. I found it quite funny.

I do feel nerdy doing it...but at the same time, it's nice to know it will help someone with their own research down the line.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Year 2 Day 334: Car Seat FAIL

A couple weeks back this car seat was on offer at Asda for only £15 -- I believe marked down from £25. It does both front and rear-facing and since Matt and I plan to do Extended Rear-Facing (ERF) with Ryan, it seemed like a good deal. The alternatives are much dearer, for example a front/rear-facing Britax seat from Babies R Us, and although we do plan on getting something a little more substantial, we thought this would be a decent interim seat until we could afford the other.

The seat (Nania Trio Plus) had a 4-star review rating, however, the lower-starred reviewers complained it didn't have much padding and one even said it didn't fit well in her Corsa (which is what we have). We decided to get one anyway and see for ourselves.

Although Ryan does enjoy the extra room and being able to sit more upright, his head flops dangerously forward (which was another complaint of reviewers) when he falls asleep. Also, it's not exactly secure by just the seat belt in the car as we have to wedge it against the back of the driver's seat. So, from these discoveries we have chosen to retire this seat to keep as a booster for when we're ready for him to face forward.

Until then, looks like it's back to the snug little infant seat for a while longer.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Year 2 Day 333: Little Nipper

Here is our little bundle fresh from an afternoon nap. He's had a pretty tough past couple of days with teething and last night someone decided to switch my child for one of the Cullens from the Twilight series.

He has been waking several times a night now and since I know he's eating plenty, it has to be teething and possibly yet another growth spurt. When I brought him into bed with me at half-two this morning to nurse, we both fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke I decided to move him to his cot, but when I started to move, he started to root again so I latched him on for another top up feed. This is when the first incident occurred.


It isn't very often when he bites, and it's always when he's having teething pains...so for this reason, I usually don't latch him back on. Except in my zombie-state, I did and he bit me even harder. When I looked down I saw that this time he drew blood!

Yep...Mommy's little baby vamp!

Then all morning he's been a bit fussy off and on and every time he goes to nurse, he cries in pain and can't stay latched for very long. The suction is really hurting his gums.

Fast forward to tonight when I was putting him to bed and he just wasn't having it. He's been extra drooly and kept blowing raspberries instead of sleeping. Then Matt tried to help rock him and he had a major meltdown. The neighbours probably thought we were torturing him.

I can see where a top tooth is trying to make its way through the gum...I just hope it gets the job over and done with soon so my little bunny can catch a break and get some sleep!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Year 2 Day 332: Britannia Park

I only first tried Ryan in the park swing around 3 1/2 months, but he didn't have enough core balance just yet and I didn't feel it safe for him to be flopping around in something that doesn't look entirely safe for infants to begin with. I have honestly put it off over and over so that Matt could be a part of his first time on the park swings, but most nights he is knackered when he gets home from work so today we just went for it!

As you can see, it was a big hit and he did really well to balance. I think it was well-worth the wait!

Now, I can't wait for the day when he asks if we can go to the park to swing!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Year 2 Day 331: Matt...You ARE The Father

With an appetite to match his Daddy's...I don't think paternity will EVER be in question!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Year 2 Day 330: Banana Bandit

I've been meaning to blog about this topic for some time now as I have learned it has a double meaning of sorts. Also, it is only just recently that Ryan has started to fit into this cute little outfit (a gift from my former Fifth Grade teacher, Mrs. Mall). The outfit has cute little monkeys with bandannas and under each of their heads reads 'Banana Bandit.' I knew from the moment I pulled this one out of the parcel that was sent from America that I couldn't wait to see him in it and I thought it was just adorable with the little stripey sleeves and banana on the bum of the trousers.

Then Matt saw it.

I couldn't figure out why he had such a look on his face. He looked at me as if I should know something already, but I still couldn't see it. Then he said to me..."Banana Bandit, hon...come on." I finally realised that while in America, it may not be anything special, apparently over here it can be a very crude "adult" term.

Naturally I wasn't thinking anything like that in the slightest...I just liked the cute little outfit with monkey heads on it. But needless to say, since this revelation, I can only bring myself to allow him to wear it around the house.

I still think it's really cute on him though.

In less controversial news...we had some Pasta Mess tonight. I decided now that Ryan is starting to consistently eat his food when offered, I wanted to begin slowly introducing table-ware, such as plates, bowls, etc. I'll still allow him to eat with his hands, but by next month Matt and I want to start allowing him to see that spoons and forks are often a part of meals as well. We will likely just start by putting them on his tray and allowing him to explore, but at least it will give him some exposure.

As soon as I placed the bowl down tonight, we were concerned he would fling it across the room as we watched him slowly grab hold of the edge. Instead, he pulled the bowl closer to his chest and tucked in to his scrummy meal! Or is that shoveling?

A little less messy than I was expecting, really. Of course we knew it was time for a bath when he took his pasta-sauce-covered hands and began to rub his eyes. Surprisingly, I didn't get a photo of that.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Year 2 Day 329: A Stand-Up Act

There was no comedy tonight, however, when I witnessed my eight-month-old pulling his entire baby body to stand at the walker...wow! He had done it only once a few weeks back when I went with Emma to the cinema (Matt sent me a text while I was in watching the film to report that he had done this), but this was the first time I saw with my own eyes, that he used his own initiative to pull himself up.

I did have to keep my foot on the base so it wouldn't slip out from under him.

But there you have it! All on his own! It's a toss-up whether we will see him crawl or walk first. I know boys, as a rule, tend to hit things developmentally slower than girls sometimes, but I will do everything I can to support and encourage what he is ready to move onto next!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Year 2 Day 328: Uhm...Moo

A bit of an unusual day as the power went out mid-morning. I rang Matt at work to see if we could get in touch with the landlord since we didn't know which energy supplier to call, and Matt suggested I first check the fuse box. His first instruction was to "turn on the light" so I could see...until I reminded him that it was power we were lacking. D'oh! So I had to opt for the only torch in the house.

Enter: "Moo"

It's a children's torch and when you flick the trigger in the handle, his mouth opens and he literally moos!

Let me just say, it's not easy to be serious on the phone with someone when you have to keep flicking the trigger to open the mouth of a mooing-cow-torch just to see the fuse box in the dark cupboard under the stairs.

It turned out to be an outage in the area, which was only discovered after playing phone tag for nearly two and a half hours. During that time, Ryan and I played with "Moo" for a while.

He was quite intrigued by the light, once he managed to turn it on.

Then he couldn't seem to get the cow's mouth shut to turn it back off again. Thrashing it on the floor and beating it to "death" with his heels-of-steel didn't work and neither did trying to force his cow jaws shut with his Baby Hulk hands.

Later, his teeth started to give him some grief, so I prepared a crunchy snack of cucumber and carrots, nice and cool, straight from the fridge. They really hit the spot! I should say I was also proud that this is the first time he chewed some proper little chunky divots out of the carrot. He finally put those bottom two teeth to use!

Here is a video as well...

Of course, everyone stages a veggie-battle when they're done eating...right?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Year 2 Day 327: Our Little Pork Chop

If you are what you eat...

...then Pork Chop it is!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Year 2 Day 326: The Early Birds

Daddy ended up on the sofa last night because he fell asleep there by accident, so to Ryan's surprise, he was able to get another early-morning play session. However, it looks from this photo as though Ryan is the one that's still sleepy.

By the early afternoon we had assured Ryan he would be tucking into a scrummy Sunday dinner at Auntie Emma's, and the thought of Yorkshire Puddings put the smile right back on his face!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Year 2 Day 325: Yep, He's Mine Alright!

Just a couple randoms for tonight's post. This was what I discovered upon retrieving my son from his second nap this afternoon. I had to rescue him as he was smooshed up against the bars of his cot with the blanket over his head like Mother Teresa and his plushie hippo wedged under his bum.

Goofy kid.

We tried to spend the hour before bedtime doing less "active" things instead, like reading books. He kept feeling the pages of his Monkey and Me book, so I felt it was time to whip out his Usborne Touchy-Feely Farmyard Tales. I snapped this pic because I simply couldn't resist when he wanted to feel the woolly sheep with both his hand AND foot!

Yep...my kid.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Year 2 Day 324: Food...NOT Food

It's been rainy and crap all day long...in fact, most of this week has been that way. I think the days of Ryan and I having our lunch out on the patio under the umbrella are gone and have been replaced with Pooh's Blustery Day.

Oh well. That's a British Summer for you.

Ryan had his first proper jam sandwich today. I'm still a bit hesitant to give him peanut butter, although I know there is research that does say it is okay. Still, I felt strawberry jam was safe so jam sandwiches all around!

No big surprise that he loved them. He even tried to get some jam off his bib at the end by shoving the entire bottom of the bib into his mouth. It took a bit of physical restraint, but he did eventually give in and trust that jam did not then make his bib edible.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Year 2 Day 323: Readyyyyy...SMILE!!

No? No smile? Okay, how about now...smile now? No. Hmm. Alright...what if I dangle this really smile-worthy set of measuring cups in front of your face? No dice.

I see. Well then.

This is what I get for not taking his 8-month photo out in the garden earlier today when I planned. I put it off because I figured I could set it up later after we returned from the baby clinic. I should have known that with how weather in this country goes...it was going to rain. And rain it did! We didn't even get to stop on the way back through the park to swing on swings because it started then. Thankfully we're so close to the park. But as a result, tonight's photo was taken before a simple tea of egg on toast, where Ryan's portion  was just little toast 'soldiers.'

Little Man is really stretching out! Although we didn't measure his length today, when I laid him on the scales I had to readjust him because he was nearly falling off the one end and I place him the same way every time.

Once his nappy was back on and I was dressing him, the health visitor came back over to give me his red book and reported he now weighs 17 lbs 12 oz. His weight is moving back up the centile chart which means that Baby-Led Weaning is really paying off because he's actually starting to purposefuly ingest more food now. I'm so proud of my little munchkin!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Year 2 Day 322: My Other First Love

Eight months on (as of tomorrow) and I am still completely head-over-heels in love with this little boy! Not that there was ever any doubt whether or not I would be, but still. He's learning and doing so much that I look forward to seeing every new development like it's Christmas!

Looking back now, I really can't imagine my life without him. Matt and I say nearly every night how glad we are that we have him now and how much joy he fills our hearts with.

Just in the past week he's so happy (screeching and giggling all the time), trying to stand without our "help" (he pushes our hands away), and he has even started to clap a little -- and let me tell you that there is nothing quite like the ::tic tic tic:: sound of a baby's clap.

Something I have also noticed is that he has finally settled down enough that he will sit in my lap while we look at a book together and he is actually interested in the book. His favourite at the moment is called Monkey and Me. It has lots of repetition (something that is great for babies and young pre-reading/early-reading children) and he likes when I point along to the words as I read. Tonight when I read it before he went up for his bath, he kept turning to look at me while I read. It was too sweet because he would look at the book, and then turn around to me and watch my lips for a minute and then smile so big!

Yep, our little Ryan is growing up so quickly before our very eyes and I'm doing what I can to savour every moment!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Year 2 Day 321: Spin Cycle

Our new 6kg washing machine was delivered yesterday and it is a serious improvement from the one previous, which was second-hand and on its last leg. It would stop at the rinse cycle and although you could advance the dial, it still wasn't rinsing properly, nor was it using the fabric conditioner -- a must when you have a baby with super soft skin.

When I started the laundry this morning, Ryan was fascinated by the bigger porthole and each load involved a game where I had to sit on the floor with him for a period of time while he watched the water pour into the drum and then slosh the clothes around. He even insisted on standing on his own for a few minutes at a time, slapping the door, squealing in delight, and looking back at me with a huge grin.

And this is when I question why we bother with any baby toys when adult daily-living appliances are sufficient enough for entertainment in his eyes?

Monday, 16 August 2010

Year 2 Day 320: Note to Self

Feeding baby too close to nap time increases the probability of a messy food-face. Ryan had porridge this morning, but it was a little later than I normally give it to him. Next thing I know he's rubbing his eyes and he ends up with a half-dried porridge-glaze over his soft baby skin.

Coincidentally, he did the same at tea tonight...with mashed potato, broccoli, and carrot.

Will Mommy ever learn?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Year 2 Day 319: 1-2-3, Swing!!

Ryan's cousin, Amy, received a swing for her first birthday from their Nan & Grandad and was finally able to give it a go this afternoon since it wasn't raining, for a change. She was even nice enough to let Ryan have a turn.

I think it's safe to say the kids enjoyed it!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Year 2 Day 318: Storm-Watching

Here in the UK, the climate is such that you don't get a lot of extreme weather -- such as you would in say...a summer in North Carolina, for example. I can't say I miss staying glued to the weather channel, looking to see where the watches and warnings were and guessing if the dark red patch on the Doppler was headed for my town next.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise to hear thunder early this evening. In fact, it's only the second time in two years I have even noticed thunder, it's so rare. It had been raining off and on throughout the week, but still no thunder.

I went upstairs to get a better view since the entire stretch from Romsley to Clent can be seen from our bedroom and sometimes you can even see the storms coming in. Normally, I am not much of a storm person, but since storms here are nothing to their US counterparts, I have become quite the spectator. So much so, that when I saw a flash of  lightening in the distance, I shouted down to Matt to bring Ryan upstairs with him to watch the storm come in.

Here is the series of photos to document the beauty of a summer storm here:

Eventually the wind picked up in our back garden and I could hear people over at the park shouting to get into their cars. Leaves began blowing off trees in the neighbours garden and I could tell the rain was close. Before long it was pelting it down and I had to shut the window...but my little buddy Ryan stayed by my side to watch his very first proper thunderstorm.

You may have actually thought I had never seen one...with my camera and all.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Year 2 Day 317: Water Baby

I've only ever taken bath-time photos of Ryan (IN the bath) one other time, but that was before he learned to splash, so the bath was downstairs in the front room. We'd put on a recorded episode of Waybuloo or Squiglet for the duration of his bath and he was a happy little camper. Now that he has started splashing about, it was getting too messy for being down in the front room, so his bath has relocated to being upstairs INSIDE the big tub.

We don't have a proper little bath seat just yet that will suction inside, so his baby bath still works out quite fine. Plus, it saves on water consumption because there is less space for the water to fill.

And then, of course, Ryan is content as he can still have his bath buddies present. His new favourite bath game is catching his wind-up froggy who paddles across the water. I find it especially amusing when he pulls him out of the water -- still kicking!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Year 2 Day 316: Taco Thursday!

Matt and I fancied something different for tea for once, so last night we picked up the bits and bobs to make soft tacos. After Matt joined Ryan and I on our walk this evening, he spent time with his little XBox apprentice in the front room while I got all the fixings ready. Lucky duck, Ryan, was the first to try a nice slice of red pepper, which he nommed on for quite a while.

I also gave him a bit of my corn tortilla as well as some tomato and bits of mince -- he really liked the mince and tomato!

Of course for afters he enjoyed an apricot flavoured yogurt. Mmm! Note: That is mince on his forhead. Don't ask how it got there...I haven't a clue!

Then it was time for a bath and bed. Tonight was the second proper night of trying this Sleep Sense thing out. I ended up starting things much later than intended, but I figured it would be best to keep the routine itself consistent as the objective was to teach him to put himself to sleep without me as a "soother" of sorts.

I had to laugh at myself when I was lotioning him and getting him into PJ's after his bath. He isn't a fan of lying on his back, but it's necessary when putting his nappy on so I try to sing songs to distract him. I was trying to think of a song that wasn't upbeat and instead kind of mellow so I began with "Goodnight, Baby." The only downside to this was that I was nearly in a fit of giggles singing it as it reminded me of a song we all sang in college during hockey games. It's the same tune, only instead of 'baby' we sang "Goodnight, Ladies!" to the opposing team. I'm sure Ryan wouldn't have noticed the change in lyrics, but I don't want to get into the habit of ending his bedtime song choice with..."We just kicked your ass!"

Still, the physical routine was winding down and by half-nine, it was time to put him into his cot. The past couple of times (last night and today's nap time) he would start by chattering to his "cot-mates" (i.e. Scout and his purple hippo), then he would roll around every inch of the cot before getting a bit fractious and starting to fuss until he was full-blown crying (with me right next to him shushing)...because after all, what kind of MEAN MOMMY exiles her only son to a barren cot mattress, void of all cushiness and smells of milk?

Answer: THIS mommy.

Tonight, however, was a bit different. He chattered. He rolled. He squeaked. He rubbed his eyes and kicked his leg...and then...

...he went to sleep!

Not. One. Single. Tear.

I covered him with his blanket and turned the light out in the room before quickly retreating down to the front room where I questioned my dear husband by asking, "So, did you hear Ryan just wailing away up there?"

He didn't even flinch or look up from the XBox as he replied, "Yeah, a little bit."


So I told him he was one and this made him look at me puzzled until I explained that our son did not shed a solitary teardrop in tonight's bedtime routine. A first.

Of course Matt managed to back-pedal and say that he could hear him a bit when he was chattering and squeaking away. Fair enough.

But most importantly...little man did NOT cry. I couldn't be more proud of the little mite.

Next on the agenda: Changing his (now) one night waking, to none.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Year 2 Day 315: Sleep Sense

Tonight was our first official night trying the Sleep Sense Programme (sent to me via a very helpful fellow mommy-friend). We tested it last night but since we had tea later than normal and with all the running around for Matt's birthday, Ryan was absolutely cream-crackered...so putting him to bed awake, but drowsy wasn't an option because he REFUSED to wake up. He did stir once in the night around 4am, but rather than nurse him back to sleep, Matt worked his Daddy-magic (because unlike me, he doesn't smell like a milk-trolley). Within 40 minutes he was settled again and slept through until 7am when he awoke in a chirpy and squeaky mood.

The plan tonight was to try putting him to bed earlier and starting his bedtime routine by 7pm. That then backfired when we only returned from Tesco at half-six and his drowsy signals in the store guaranteed he would naturally fall asleep on the way home -- not what I wanted. This is when I brought him upstairs to change his nappy and put him in PJs...and this photo opportunity arose.

Again...OUT. LIKE. A. LIGHT.

Until...I took off his cosy shoes. (Mean Mommy)

I had him changed, clothed, lotioned before we sang a song, heard a story, and I nursed for about 10 minutes. He was put in his cot and I started following the plan of gently soothing him as he lay there. The only problem was...he didn't lay there. He was wired. Instead he was all over the cot, rolling and thrashing his body around and giggling.

After a bit I brought him downstairs so I could eat my tea and within the hour we were back up and at it again. It took just under an hour and a few tears were shed -- probably tears because he was tired and wanted to be asleep, but didn't know how to get himself there without a boob in his mouth. Thankfully though, just before 9pm, I put him down for the final time, drowsy with droopy eyes...he wiggled and squirmed a bit...and then he put his arm around his hippo friend and off to dream-land he went.

Now it's the waiting game to see how effective putting him down sooner is. I know Matt and I will miss some time with him in the evening, but judging on how much he rubs his eyes from 7pm on most nights, it's really not fair to him at the end of the day.

Here's hoping!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Year 2 Day 314: First Birthday (As a Daddy)

Daddy flies down to Ryan's level in stealth-mode to "steal" a kiss...

...and Ryan reciprocates! (I think.)

Before I found out we were expecting Ryan, Matt always said he wanted to be a dad by the time he turned thirty-five. As fate would have it, I was pregnant during his 35th birthday (last August). So here we are at his magic 36th (still looking like a spring chicken, I might add) and he has a beautiful son to show for it!

Happy Birthday, Hon!

Love, Meg & Ryan


Monday, 9 August 2010

Year 2 Day 313: Ooo...Fright Me!

This is a toned-down version of the reaction you get off Ryan when the Hoover is on. In fact, this tensed up reaction, plus hysterical crying is the reason why I can no longer do it in the front room when Matt's not home to look after him in another room. He goes absolutely ballistic!

Matt was only just doing the hallway and I looked at Ryan who pulled his arms to his chest and the bottom lip came out with a look at me that said, "They're coming for US!"

My poor little buddy.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Year 2 Day 312: TV Trance

Ryan and his cousin, Amy, were playing together in the ball pit tonight -- well, by playing I mean I was bouncing balls off their heads and making them giggle. Everything was fun and games until simultaneously, as if drawn in by some superior force, they both diverted their attention from me and focused it on the telly in front of them.

Yep, Mommy/Auntie Meg was scuffed!

TV: 1
Me: 0

Baby Social Interaction: FAIL

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Year 2 Day 311: Next Milestone, Please

We took Ryan's '7 month' photos today outside under one of the apple trees. Considering he is actually 7 months, 2 weeks & 5 days, I edited the sign to reflect that he is really 7 1/2 months old.

In fairness, I have been waiting a bit for the weather to cooperate, and we have had lots of rainy and otherwise overcast days lately. Couple that with the fact that I wanted to take his photo in this specific outfit (which never seemed to be in the pile of clean clothes) and mix in the obvious 'lazy Mommy' and 7 1/2 months is what you get.

In other news we're thinking Ryan has said his first word -- or at least his own modified version of it. He gets super excited when our cat, Myst walks by and gets a huge grin across his face. If Myst gets close enough he tries to touch his fur (which is usually his tail) and Myst makes a timely exit from Ryan's reach as soon as the over-stimulated, high-pitched screeches begin.

Well each time we have a Myst-encounter I will say 'cat' as clearly as I can, along with describing his fur as 'soft' and showing Ryan how to stroke him with a 'gentle' touch. All of these are in hopes to help him become familiar with the words and encourage him to try using them. This has been going on ever since Ryan has shown an interest in Myst (at around 2 months old).

Yesterday I noticed Ryan was making a coughing sound although it wasn't a proper cough. It also had a very distinctive short 'a' vowel sound, as in the word 'cat.' I didn't think much of it until I noticed he was doing it again today and only when Myst was in the room where Ryan was clearly looking at him. Later I was talking to Matt and I said to Ryan, "Say CAT" and I pointed to Myst. Ryan immediately started doing his little "CAT cough" and grinned from ear to ear. Then, even when Myst was out of the room, if I would tell him to say it, he kept repeating it.

So, I'm not saying my kid's a genius or anything (which he clearly IS) but it seems we may have at least a close call on a first word to record in the baby book! I'm counting it anyway.