Wednesday, October 03, 2012

J at 6 months

We had a little scramble to get all our paperwork together for him, but we were thrilled to be able to adopt J in February. We named him J, for my father who passed away last November. Our boy has been growing like crazy, in his body and in our hearts, and we are so blessed to have him and Z. We call him “little monster” and “bubba” because that was Z's best attempt at pronouncing “brother” when we brought him home.

He is growing well, but differently from Z. He's about average for height, but he's thinner than she was. It seemed like it took him until he was three months to have anything you could call a bootie, and he never really got the fat rolls. He struggled a lot with his digestion the first few months. We finally figured out that he was allergic to milk around 3.5 months, and that made a huge difference. He stopped spitting up literally overnight when we changed his formula and he's been a happy baby ever since. He is up to date on all his shots and the doctor says he's hitting all his milestones. He started on solids this last month and really loves to eat! He wanted nothing to do with cereal, really, but loves any kind of soft veggie or fruit that we give him, and he's done great on the little bit of beef and chicken he's tried so far. I think his favorite is apple, but it's hard to know for sure because he's so enthusiastic about everything!

He cut his first teeth, found his feet, and got up on all fours all in a week last month. It's like he was racing to see how many milestones he could hit and how fast. Not long after that, he was crawling. It wasn't a big dramatic moment, he just looked across the room at a toy he wanted and started motoring over to it. He was so pleased when he got there, though, that he kinda forgot how he had done it. It was several days before he did it again, and a few days after that before he finally mastered it and added it to his daily repertoire of tricks.

Some of his favorite things to do now are to grab onto faces and chew chins and noses. He knows the word “zrbtt” (I think most people call them “blowing raspberries”) and if Z starts giving zrbtts to me or Rose, he will crawl across the floor to do it, too. He especially likes to zrbtt people on the cheeks. He's very slobbery, so you have to love him a lot to let him do it. He has a great grip, though, and can all but do chinups off my ears. I had been growing my hair out, and trying out dreadlocks, but he was getting his sticky little fingers so tangled in the locs, and then he barfed in them and I couldn't get the smell out, so I had to cut it short. He still gets a good grip on it and pulls me in close so he can chew my nose, but at least now it's easy to untangle him. He's got swimming lessons coming up in the fall, so we can't wait to see if he learns as quickly as Z did. He loves to play and splash in the water, and we've taught him how to float on his back and hold his breath and go underwater already.

J has been to East Texas for a family reunion, and to Houston to visit with the cousins, and to Austin to visit with our friends and family there, and also to College Station to visit with our good friends who live there. His cousins just love helping with getting him changed and dressed and fed, and they are very excited when they know Z and J are coming for a visit. He hasn't gotten to go on any real vacations yet, but we do have one coming up in October, we'll be going to the beach. I think he'll love crawling around in the sand. He's a good traveler and likes to babble in his car seat and he sleeps well in the car.

He's the apple of his Zeidy's eye (Zeidy is Yiddish for grandfather, that's what Rose's dad is called) and loves to tug on Zeidy's mustache and sit with him in the recliner when we go visit. Rose's mom goes by Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother) and she loves to hold him and feed him his bottles. We try to make sure we see them once a week, at least, so J is very familiar with them and always gets excited when he sees either of them open the door.

My mom recently moved to a new house, so we've been to visit with her a couple of times in her new place outside of Austin. J did his first rolling over there, on the rug, at Easter. My mom is very fond of him and often calls him by my dad's nickname. She reminds him sometimes that he'll have to be a little bit tough to hold his own with such a feisty big sister, but tells him it's okay to be sweet, too.

He's surrounded by music all the time, because we sing to him and to Z as we play our way through the day. He likes to have lullabyes at night, and his favorite toys are a little play piano and a musical table that is covered in noisemaking gizmos. He is definitely a pacifier-loving baby, and never was very interested in his thumb or any other soother. The day he figured out how to put his own pacifier in his mouth was probably one of his happiest, and that's saying a lot because he is a very happy baby. He has an easy, bubbly laugh that he uses all the time. Everything from funny sounds to bouncing on a lap will make him laugh out loud. He enjoyed a bouncer, liked his swing, and LOVES his jumpy seat. He can sit and bop up and down in his jumpy seat for what seems like an hour at a time. He's a funny sleeper, he wakes often as he tosses and turns but it's easy to get him back to sleep. He takes several good naps during the day, but doesn't yet sleep through the night.

And even though he's very nearly 8 months old now, I am so proud of myself for getting this and Z's updates written, that I don't even care that it's late. Writing anything at all is a victory right now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Z at 18 months

I know that Z is actually 21 months at this writing. I'm behind. What else is new? This is more or less the story of my life, so I'm patting myself on the back for getting it written at all.

Our Z is now 18 months! How the time has flown by! We were blessed to adopt Z's brother in February. We named him J, for my late father. She had a little trouble adjusting to another baby in the house at first, but she loves him now and is very tender toward him. She especially likes to help him find his pacifier and get it in his mouth!

She has grown in all of her teeth except for the molars and she is eating anything that comes her way, although she is now somewhat skeptical of any “new” food – meaning food she hasn't seen lately. Her bar-none favorite is cookies, but she only gets those in moderation. Her favorite everyday food is no longer the banana – it's probably a tie between apples and pears. She loves to eat chicken and “noon -ells” (noodles) and nuts and if it were an option would probably have macaroni and cheese with every meal – even breakfast! She and I usually share a bowl of oatmeal or cereal or yogurt and berries in the morning, and then she eats whatever we're having for lunch and dinner.

She learned to walk in May, on Mother's Day, in fact. We were over at Rose's parents' house for dinner when Z finally let go of the couch and walked clear across the floor from Rose to Rose's sister, Simona (Aunt Mimo – Z pronounces it Moomoo). We had noticed that she was much more brave about trying out standing and taking steps when she was on a carpeted or soft surface, so a month or two ago we decided to put a colorful foam mat down on our wood floors in the living room. That's the room where she spends the most time, and it really encouraged her to practice her free standing, bouncing, and cruising. So we're excited that she's walking now, and she definitely appreciates the soft landing she gets when she trips. She's also an excellent swimmer. We took swim lessons in the spring and she can now swim up to 10 feet or so from person to person, or to the wall and back. She loves to be in the water and to swim and play.

She does a wonderful job of talking and signing with us and it seems like she picks up a new word every day! She can do signs for all of her favorite foods – apples, pears, oranges, berries, carrots, milk, bread, and juice, and can say something that you can recognize for pretty much all of those things, too. She loves the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and there's a hip-hop version from an artist named Basho that she especially likes. She loves to watch movies of herself and her new brother on my cell phone, and she calls them “mini-moos”. She also really loves the song “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” - which she calls “Go! Go!” for the part where they sing “Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go!” and “Lime In The Coconut” which she calls “Nutnut”. She loves to dance and “The Hokey Pokey” is a big-time favorite. Before she could stand, we would do that song with her sitting on my lap and I would pick her up and spin her around during the “turn yourself around” segment. Now she stands up and spins on her own until she's so dizzy she's giggling and all but falling over. It's a huge joy to watch her growing and learning.

We went to a family reunion last month in East Texas. It was the first gathering on my Dad's side of the family since he passed away. It was bittersweet for that reason – so good to get to see all the aunts and uncles and cousins and all their growing families – so sad to miss Daddy during all of it. Z and J were the youngest ones there, and were quite the hit. Everyone from the aunties to the kids-of-the-cousins wanted to get to snuggle them and play with them. Z also got to go and spend a week staying with her cousins in Katy, TX while my sister, Bebe, and I were packing up our house to get us ready to move. We've been talking about moving to Austin for years, and we're finally getting ready to put the house on the market. We'll continue to be back in Dallas regularly, though, as Rose's family lives up here. We let Z go stay with the cousins while we were cleaning up and staging everything because her favorite trick right now is emptying containers. It's hard to pack when a toddler is going behind you and undoing all your work! She loved visiting with the cousins, swimming and eating popsicles and drawing with sidewalk chalk and dressing up like a princess.

She finally got her first cold in February. Aside from that, she's been a picture of health and is still pretty much average for height and weight. She usually stays between 40th and 60th percentile for both, although she was a little on the tall side at this last checkup. Learning to walk has slimmed her down a little bit. She was a very pudgy baby until then, and now she's burning off so much more energy walking everywhere. She does great with regular cups, and is starting to get the hang of forks and spoons, too. She loves to try, whether she succeeds or not, and most of the time leaves her plate or bowl sitting on the tray. Food does fly occasionally, but not too often. She takes one good nap every afternoon, though it takes some convincing now to get her to go down. We have most success either walking her in the stroller or going to run an errand in the car. Either way, being buckled into stillness helps her fall asleep. She still usually wakes once or twice a night, but is sleeping 10 or 12 hours a night in spite of that, so she gets great rest, for which we are so grateful.