rivka: (Colin 1.5)
I wrote that developmental update while I was at my faculty retreat last week. Since then, Colin has picked up two awesome new things I want to share:

  • A while back he learned to sing "Goodnight Ladies." "Goodnight ladies, we're going to leave you now." Then he did a little experimentation with changing "ladies" into people's names: "Good night Mama, we're going to leave you now."

    This weekend he started changing the lyrics entirely. Michael left the dinner table to go to the bathroom, and Colin broke into song: "Good night, Daddy, going to pee potty." And this morning, as Alex settled in to watch her video: "Good night, Alex, going to Liberty's Kids show."

  • He's started carrying news. We went in to wake Alex up this morning, and he eagerly reported to her about his exciting new pajamas: "Alex! Colin dinosaurs on there!" Michael had a massive sneezing fit, and Colin came into the next room and told me excitedly, "Mama, Daddy sneezed! Daddy sneezed!"

    This isn't flat-out funny like singing "Good night, Daddy, going to pee potty," but it's a big developmental leap because it shows that Colin is starting to understand that everyone doesn't know what he knows. That's the beginning of a theory of mind.
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
It has been pointed out to me that perhaps I shouldn't post about how much my life sucks and then disappear for a week. Sorry.

Here I am, back! And with a developmental update. Colin is 18 months old, and a fine big capable boy.


Just recently he's really gotten the rules down for peekaboo. He "hides" (announcing "hiding!") and then pops out and shouts "peekaboo!" He has not fully grasped the principles underlying hiding, which sometimes makes for very cute results.

(Also a perennial source of toddler cute: Colin thinks he can jump. What he can do is squat down and then stand up quickly saying "jump!" It's almost like jumping, right? He's very proud.)

He's got a few hundred words now, which he deploys with verve. We can have real conversations:

Me: Want to help me put away books, Colin?
Colin: touches a book. Alex.
Me: Are these books for Alex?
Colin: Chapter.
Me: Yes, those are chapter books.

Colin: pointing at my monitor. Baby! Becky! Baby!
Me: You want to see pictures of Becky and the babies? (pulls up our friends' baby blog.)
Colin: reaches for the screen. Baby. Carry.
Me: You want to carry the baby?
Colin: Yes.

One of my favorite new words of his, which he uses all the time now: "Turn." He'll take a bite of a cracker and then hand the rest to me, saying invitingly, "Turn!" Or Alex will get out of the bathtub, and if it doesn't look like I'm getting ready to put him in next he'll anxiously say "Turn! Turn!" He was in a study today at the Johns Hopkins Cognitive Development Lab, and he eagerly directed me and the experimenter to take turns with a particular toy. It feels like it's of a piece with the general harmoniousness we've noticed in Colin all along.

He has a few two-word phrases: help me, other side, read again, cut it, and, inevitably, more see-see (i.e., nursing). They are stereotyped for the most part; he's not flexibly putting together two different words he happens to know. But it is still definitely an expansion.

He likes to reel off lists of words. When I'm rocking him at bedtime, I'll hear "Red. Red. Orange. Blue. Green. Pink." Or he'll look up from playing and start naming animals and making their sounds. "Sheep! Baaa. Neigh... horse. Cow. Cow. Moo." Or he'll just start pointing to and naming parts of the body. I guess that when you only have a couple hundred words, it's hard to make conversation without relying on lists. (Colin is actually the world champion of animal sounds. You should hear his elephant trumpet.)


Colin and Alex are as thick as thieves these days. They chase each other around the house and climb all over each other. As soon as he wakes up in the morning he looks around: "Alex? Alex?" He wants to be right where she is doing right what she's doing. Sometimes this poses difficulties on the homeschooling front, but I try to remember that their good relationship is more important to me than her learning this particular thing at this particular moment. On her side, of course she sometimes finds him annoying, but she also plays with him much more than I expected her to.

Colin likes: airplanes, trucks, trains, and other things that go vroom. Bunnies. ("Hop! Hop! A bunny!") Being "pretty," such as dressing up in Alex's dress-up clothes or putting ponytail holders on his wrists and ankles. Playing in the sink or other water sources, which he attempts to justify by pleading to wash his hands. Being read to. Looking at pictures online, particularly Google Images searches for "commercial airplanes" and our friends' aforementioned baby blog. Having his entire family in sight at all times. Nursing, a little too much.

He continues to be a good regular-food eater, although ironically he isn't any heavier than Alex was as a terrible eater. He loves meat, fish, shellfish, rice, pasta, fruit, raw vegetables. We've got another one here who loves sushi.


His sleep continues to suck, but he has slept through the night twice now, so I have a tiny shred of hope that it will improve. We've decided to nightwean in a few weeks (after our camping trip) in hopes that that will lead to a big breakthrough in nighttime sleep.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I am sooo overdue for a developmental update on Colin. I guess that's what happens when your ceiling falls in, you start homeschooling, and you have a sermon to write.

Anyway: Colin is sixteen and a half months old.


When I last updated, he had about a half-dozen words. Now he has more words than we can count, and new ones pop up all the time. He says giraffe and shower and outside and thank you and Rebecca and all clean and grapes and glasses. He says Ashes, ashes, a down when we play Ring Around the Rosy. He knows a couple dozen signs, although he only regularly uses a few: more (which he also uses for again), all done, bath, cracker, socks. He isn't putting two words together yet (things like "all done" don't count because they're set phrases), but he can certainly make himself understood.

He is probably the first toddler in human history to learn yes before no. I guess if any toddler did it, it would be Colin, Mr. Agreeable McEasygoing. We ask him a lot of questions, and when we get something right he beams at us and says "yesss."

Conversation with my son:
Colin: (climbs onto my desk chair and stands up, then shakes his finger in an admonitory fashion.) Down! A Down!
Me: Sit down, Colin.
Colin: (beams at me, sits down).
Are you the goofiest boy in the world?
Colin: Yes!

He tries to throw tantrums. They are pretty sorry. He casts himself on the ground and sort of reclines on one elbow so that he can still see you and tell whether you are reacting to him, and wails unconvincingly. He can't really hide his sunny nature for long.

He does know when he's being shabbily treated, though. For example: someone reading to Alex. Clearly being read to is for Colin, and Colin only. He's been known to slam her books shut, say "All done!", and substitute a book of his own. If he brings me a book of his and I don't stop reading to her immediately, he brings another book and another, as if he's sure that I will give up on Alex if he only tempts me with the right selection.

Colin loves: Books, again and again, especially if they have babies or animals in them. Balls of every description. Keys, not to shake the way a baby does but to insert hopefully in locks. Dogs and ducks, in real life and in pictures. Michael, with the fire of a thousand suns. After Michael leaves for work in the morning, Colin stands by the door calling and calling for him. When Michael returns, Colin catapults into his arms and snuggles in deep. Michael is everything right now.

He likes to look around the family circle, pointing and naming each of us in turn. I remember Alex going through the same stage. "Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin! Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin!" When we're out in public and a stranger comes within our orbit, Colin makes eye contact with them, points to me, and says firmly: "Mama." Don't get any ideas - I'm with her.

He eats well for a toddler, with a particular preference for meat and fruit. He likes to use a fork and spoon. Nursing (Colin calls it see, I think because I say nursie) is still going strong. I do see why people find toddler nursing annoying; Colin is big on gymnastics, and this morning while I was lying in bed, staying actively latched on the whole time, he first stood in a tripod pose and then started climbing up my body until he was sort of standing on my side and leaning way over to nurse. On the other hand, there are compensations. When he was an infant, although he loved to nurse, at the same time it did seem like nursing was just sort of there to him - something he took for granted. Now when I pick him up and turn him sideways he gets a sweet and excited smile of anticipation. So that is rewarding.

Colin is adventurous in a way that Alex was not. He's the type to pull out a dining room chair, climb up on the table, and brandish a knife that was left on a cutting board. At one point he found our spare housekey, pulled a chair over to the front door, and did his damnedest to insert the key into the lock and open the door.


For all that he terrifies me, he is such a fun and sweet little boy. If he only slept through the night, I'd be ready for a half-dozen more just like this one.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I don't want to work on my grant. Good thing you guys need a developmental update, huh?


Every other month is too infrequent for updates at this age. Because the last time I wrote Colin was just taking his first independent steps, the steps that mark the boundary between baby and toddler. Now he is a sturdy and reliable walker, and crawling has almost entirely disappeared - it's for stairs only.

Spring arrived at just the right time for Colin. He loves to play outside and go for walks. He loves watching birds and dogs on the sidewalk or in the park. We have smooth white river stones at the border between our fence and the sidewalk; they are Colin's favorite toys in the whole world. He likes to hold one in each hand and walk up and down the block. He goes back and forth carrying rocks to the neighbors' front steps, making little cairns. He clicks them together. But mostly he just holds and carries them. Everywhere. He cries when I refuse to let him bring them in the house.

He's talking a little bit. He clearly says Mama, Dada, Alex (which sounds like "A'ek" in his dialect), dog, cracker ("cakuh"), and that ("dah!", meaning give me that/look at that). There are other words I think I've heard him say (duck, shoes) but I can't be fully certain yet. He sometimes uses the signs for "more" and "all done," which are the only signs we've introduced, and he also uses other communicative gestures: nodding, shaking his head, pointing. Nodding in response to a question is still unreliable, but when he's trying to ask for something he wants he uses nod/headshake signals well to let us know whether we've guessed right.

He clearly understands a lot. He can follow simple directions, like "go get a book" and "give Mama kisses" and "let's go find Alex." He recognizes the correspondence between a picture of a wagon in a book and his own wagon, between pictures of dogs and the word "dog" and real dogs. He understands the word "no." (Whether he complies or not depends on his mood.)

He loves to manipulate objects and work mechanisms, and he is fiendishly good at it. He is ingenious and dextrous. He will sit for five minutes at a time taking the cap on and off a highlighter. He has figured out how to take the childproof cap off a pill bottle. He loves opening and closing doors, turning things on and off (the TV, Alex's CD player), balancing precariously on the rocking chair in the living room to practice working the doorknob, plugging in unplugged appliances, turning the knobs on the stove, removing outlet covers, unrolling all the toilet paper from the roll, and indiscriminately pushing buttons. In short: he is an utter menace, and he terrifies me. We've made it five years without an ER trip for Alex, but I don't think we're going to be able to say the same about Colin.

He's still very snuggly and loving. He likes to cuddle and hug and nuzzle and be held. He still likes to bring me soft toys so that we can cuddle them together. Sometimes when Alex is nearby he will stroke her affectionately. They are really getting to be good buddies; now that Colin is older and walking, Alex has a little more use for him, and they play together for short bursts. He has always found her hilarious, and she's starting to return the favor. Unfortunately, one of the things Alex finds most entertaining is to egg Colin on to do things he shouldn't.

His sleep sucks so unbelievably that I don't even want to write about it.

But mostly Colin is awesome. I really love one-year-olds. Especially mine.

rivka: (colin in whoville)

Colin walked partway across the study this evening - a remarkably steady six- or eight-foot journey. He must have known that I had a developmental update in the works.

This has been a long time coming. He's been so steady on his feet: standing independently, reaching down to pick something off the floor from a standing position, even dancing while standing. A few times he's taken a few little side-steps, edging himself along crabwise. Then, suddenly, this (relatively) long, assured walk. He's walking.

He's been preoccupied with the large-motor stuff in general. The latest obsession is climbing onto the furniture. We have a couple of child-size straight chairs, and Colin likes nothing better than to climb on, crow at his achievement, climb off, and then climb on again. He can almost get up on the low futon in the study and the low rocking chair in the living room. He cries with frustration when he can't. If we give him a boost, or he finds a toy to stand on, he gives us his biggest grin and his crowing laugh. He absolutely loves to climb into the little wagon we gave him for Christmas. I thought he'd like to push it, and he does, but he likes to get in and out of it even more.

Colin also loves to open and close doors. Cabinets and drawers, too, but doors are his favorite. Most of the doors in our house don't latch properly, and he patiently works his fingers into the cracks until he can swing them open. Then he's very proud. And he should be; he's ingenious and persistent, and it pays off. He can easily open things like Rubbermaid storage containers with snap-down handles.

He's developed a real love of books. His first love was Moo, Baa, La La La, and in honor of that, I guess, he consistently says "lalala" when he wants to be read to - no matter which book he's brandishing. He likes the same book read over and over and over. Sometimes he is so excited about rereading that he can't wait for us to finish the first read, and he snatches the book, closes it, and hands it back over for us to begin again. When he settles in to be read to he grins and clasps his hands in front of him. It's unbearably cute.

He's very focused on the pictures in books. Alex, as an infant, was much more focused on the words. When Colin is being read to, you can watch his eyes intently scanning the pictures.

He loves dolls. Baby dolls get hugged and cuddled and touched and brought to an adult for cuddling. But he also loves Alex's tiny Polly Pocket dolls. I've seen him hold one of them in one hand and a dress in the other and sort of bash them together; it's clear that he knows that you're supposed to dress them. He also likes to play with toy vehicles, balls, nesting cups, and stacking rings. And anything of Alex's, really.

He has three clear and recognizable words: Dada, Mama, and A-leh (Alex). I also think of lalala as a word because it definitely means something consistent. He is also good with communicative gestures: he points and gazes intently when he wants something, shakes his head "no" when you get something wrong, tugs on the bottom of my shirt when he wants to nurse.

He nurses enthusiastically, but these days he's also very much about regular meals of table food. He has strong opinions about getting to try everything that we eat; he'll point and make urgent noises until we hand over bits of pork roast or whatever else we initially thought was unsuitable for babies. He's started to demand to have his bowl or plate set on his tray so he can help himself. He hasn't eaten baby food for a while now. Interestingly, he's also resistant to taking bottles of breastmilk from our nanny. I am psyched about that, because if we can transition him to taking cow's milk from a cup when I'm at work I can STOP PUMPING. He already drinks water well from a sippy cup.

For all these mature eating habits, he's still marching steadily along at the 10th percentile for weight, 50th for height. He's a little string bean. Today was his one-year-old well baby visit, and he weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces.

He's been sick for a week or two, so that's probably partly why he's less unfailingly happy than he was before. But he's also become less laid back. He has a definite will, and he cries when he's thwarted. He is still super affectionate and snuggly, though.


He still thinks Alex absolutely hung the moon.

rivka: (bigger colin)
Man, is this kid ever the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest, most loving little boy in the world. I love the way he crawls up into my arms, wraps his arms as far around me as he can reach, and puts his head down on my shoulder for a snuggle.


He is an easygoing, happy, sunshiny kid. He definitely knows and loves his family and Nia, our nanny, but he's also willing to go with the flow and let a lot of different people take care of him. He made a friend for life in the church nursery on Sunday - the first time we ever left him in the nursery, by the way - by playing and laughing happily and then abruptly cuddling up to one of the workers and falling asleep on her shoulder. Because he's just a friend to the world like that.

He's got all the "big baby" achievements now: pincer grip (picking up tiny objects with thumb and forefinger), clapping/playing pat-a-cake, playing peekaboo, waving bye-bye, passing a toy back and forth, turning board book pages and lifting flaps, banging two toys together. He loves to take things apart (like ring stackers) and just today made a pretty good effort at putting a ring back on the stacker. He can scoot a toy car along the floor. He likes rattles, cars, dolls, books with flaps and/or photos of babies, animal sounds, hugging, lap bounces, watching Alex run, and being passed back and forth between two loved adults. He loves his bath.

He is very strong and agile. He likes exploring - he crawls fearlessly out of the room that we're in, tries to climb over and behind things, gets himself stuck under the furniture. He opens doors that aren't firmly latched. He inevitably twists himself out of shopping cart and restaurant highchair seatbelts, and stands up. Then he looks thrilled with himself.

Twice, now, he has stood unsupported for just a few seconds. He doesn't seem to be aware that that's what he's doing.

He babbles to himself and to us a lot. He has a few things that sound like proto-words, but right now they aren't consistently applied. I do kind of think that he's saying "A-leh" for Alex. He says Dada and Mama - sometimes he's looking at us or reaching for us, but other times he isn't. Sometimes they're distinct words, and other times they're part of "dadadadada." He is starting to echo sounds a bit more - for example, Nia was having him wave bye-bye to me and he said "bah" in imitation of her "bye." So, you know. Talking is going to happen at some point in the not-so-distant future.

He eats well, all kinds of solid food. He loves cheese, rice, soft bits of fruit, Cheerios, oatmeal, and peas. It seems that he will only take pureed baby food from me. He doesn't eat huge amounts of purees - a 4oz jar or two a day, mostly meat-and-veg blends. He still nurses quite a bit.

Seriously, though, he could not be any sweeter or more darling. He is such a little love. My Colin.

rivka: (bigger colin)
I missed the seven month update, probably in no small part because that's when Colin became mobile. He started crawling right at seven months, followed a few days afterward by pulling up to stand. Now, at eight months, he is a lightning-fast crawler, able to pull himself up on just about anything and then lower himself carefully back down again, and beginning to cruise along the furniture.

He is thrilled. He greets his own physical achievements with a delighted crowing laugh, and meets our eyes with his best "ZOMG ISN'T THIS AWESOME!!!" expression.


He seeks out, with unerring accuracy, anything he isn't supposed to have. Then he puts it in his mouth. Paper is a particular favorite here, but I also removed a large rough pebble from his mouth once. I think he found it in the fireplace?

This is going to sound crazy, but I think he's trying to say Alex's name. He calls out "A-lah" with suspicious frequency.

He has just started to show an interest in a few of his books - the ones with baby photos or animal sounds. I don't know if this is a personality difference from Alex - she was fascinated by books from a very very early age - or if it has more to do with being the second child. He doesn't get read to nearly as often as she did at his age. Mostly if I'm reading aloud I'm reading to Alex.

Still, he doesn't seem to feel neglected:


He has taken to solid food very well. He likes Cheerios, rice, mashed potatoes, bits of soft fruit. He doesn't really go for pureed fruit, but he likes his yellow and orange vegetables and his veggie-meat blends. He doesn't really have a thumb-and-finger pincer grip yet, so he eats Cheerios by swiping at them with his whole hand, making a fist, and then unwrapping his fingers one at a time until a Cheerio appears. Then he pushes it up the hand with his thumb and into his mouth.

Still no teeth, except for the one tiny little white speck on his gum that's been there for months.

He still nurses very often. Nursing these days involves an awful lot of pinching, prodding, nail-digging, and miscellaneous grabbing, unless he's swaddled, so it's not so fun for me. I am trying to train him to hold on to my shirt or hand, with some success. I also hope to teach him the critical importance of unlatching first and then whipping his head around to see what's behind him.

Naps are settling into a schedule: usually three times a day, midmorning, midafternoon, and dinnertime, usually at least an hour each. He still wakes to eat a few times a night. We've had some difficult nights - last night he woke up several times sobbing, not consoled by nursing - but I think that was the only time. Usually a bad night is when he feeds and feeds and feeds and feeds with his eyes closed the whole time. I am not outrageously sleep-deprived, although I am starting to think that it's time to set up the crib. Although I do like sleeping with him and cuddling him at night.

He's such a sweet, affectionate boy. He holds his arms out to his favorite people (Mama, Papa, and his nanny Nia) and tries to climb into their arms. He snuggles in. My absolute favorite is when he absolutely wants to be standing (because, you know, STANDING!!) but is also sleepy: he stands up on my lap and bends over to rest his head on my shoulder.

He really is my darling. So cute, so lovable, so cuddly, so sweet, so happy.

rivka: (bigger colin)
Colin is six months old today.


You'd be hard-pressed to find a more cheerful, friendly, mellow baby. He loves to make eye contact with people and then beam at them. He has a surprisingly hearty, chuckling laugh. He really seems to be happy with the world.

And easygoing! I have no trouble showering while he's in my care. I just put him on the bathroom floor on a blanket and give him a toy, and he's perfectly content to play with the toy or grab his toes and gurgle. I can lie him on a blanket in the living room and fix breakfast for myself and Alex. There are definitely times that he expresses his desire to be held and carried around, or when he objects to lying down but is happy to sit up. But for the most part he is an undemanding boy.


He continues to enjoy sitting. He has a regrettable tendency to lean too far over reaching for a toy, at which point he topples. He flips from back to front and front to back with ease, and has started sort of getting up on his knees. Fortunately for my sanity, he doesn't appear to have the least idea of what comes next.

He drools in unbelievable quantities. And he still just has one tiny, tiny spot of white tooth broken through his gum. He has to be the slowest teether in the world.


He likes to gnaw on my chin. He likes to take my glasses off. He likes lap bounces like "The Grand Old Duke of York" and "Mother and Father and Uncle John." He likes songs with animal sounds in them. He likes a few of his books, but mostly seems more interested in chewing on them than hearing them. He likes to handle and examine toys. He really wants to hold anything made of paper. He is curious about anything I'm using - my dinner plate, for example, or my keyboard.

We started solids last week, after the twentieth time that he grabbed food off my plate. He was a little unsure about the first feeding, but quickly recovered. Now he goes after the brown-rice cereal with verve. We tried a little applesauce yesterday and got a mixed reception.

He continues to nurse really well and sleep fairly well. I don't really wake up all the way, but I think he eats two or three times a night. What he doesn't do, mercifully, is spend stretches of the night awake and alert. He wakes up a little, whimpers, feeds, and goes peacefully back to sleep. I can deal with that.
rivka: (alex age 3.5)
One of my favorite developmental psych concepts is "theory of mind." It's a complicated idea, but essentially, if you have a well-developed theory of mind, you understand that people have mental states (beliefs, ideas, desires, perspectives) which differ from person to person and affect how people behave.

For example, here's one of the common experimental tasks for assessing theory of mind: There are two dolls, Sally and Anne. Sally hides a marble in a box and then goes away. While she is gone, Anne moves the marble from the box to a basket. Then Sally comes back. Where will she look for the marble? It seems to be a trivially easy question, but before the age of three or four children universally predict that Sally will look for the marble in the basket. Why? Because that's where it is. Around three or four years old, children start to have the ability to understand that even though they know where the marble really is, Sally will act on a false belief about where the marble is.

I've never run Alex through the Sally-Anne task, but I think she's had the basics of a theory of mind for a while. (A lot of fiction doesn't make sense without it.) It's clear, though, that lately she's really been developing a more elaborate sense of other people's mental representations. She's playing with these ideas a lot, figuring out what you can do with them.

Deception, for example. She's figured out the basic concept, but right now she's hilariously bad at it. She'll get a crafty look on her face and announce, "Mom, don't look at what I'm about to do." Then she'll take some cookies out of the package and run away. She's almost got it! She's figured out that if I don't see her do it, I won't know... but now she has to work out the part about not notifying me beforehand.

Or secrets. She's developed a fascination with keeping pointless secrets, I think just because she enjoys the idea of one person knowing something another person doesn't know. She's always asking Michael and I to keep something secret from each other - "don't tell Dad how far we went on the scooter!" "Don't tell Mom what we got at the store!"

Once I went in to tell him about something she'd done wrong, and she asked me (in front of him) not to tell him. When I said "I certainly am going to tell him," she broke in anxiously with "Don't listen, Dad! It's all nonsense!" Heh. Only four years old, and she's already poisoning the well!

I tremble to think about what it will be like around here when she actually masters this stuff.

She's also doing some neat stuff with perspective taking. At the museum, as we left one room to go into another, she commented: "If someone was out here, they'd think we were coming into the room." At the O's game we went to, which the O's predictably lost: "If someone was from Detroit, they would say 'Hooray, the Tigers won!'" It always comes out of nowhere - she's just doing it for practice, I guess.
rivka: (bigger colin)

Take a look at today's milestone! Colin sat by himself several times this evening, supporting himself on both hands or even, for a few seconds, one hand. He has great core strength. He's also been flipping from back to front this week, so it's been a busy time on the gross motor front. Hmm, maybe that's why his sleep has gone all to hell.

He's not quite as preternaturally easygoing as he used to be. He really wants to be held in a standing position a lot of the time now. Or walked around so he can see things. If we fail to satisfy these urges he whimpers and cries. When I put him on the floor, he twists himself around or flings his body sideways after a toy. He likes to grab onto the toy basket. Or this morning he managed to maneuver himself around until his feet were on the swing, and then happily pushed it back and forth. He's an ingenious little guy.

He is still very happy, just in general. He has a full-force laugh that breaks out at the slightest provocation. I've never known such a laughing baby. Alex has the easiest time making him laugh. (This morning, all it took was his first good sight of her, and he was cackling with glee.) He likes it when we make silly sounds for him. He likes to play peek-a-boo.

The cutest thing he does these days: Whenever I hold a glass to my mouth when he's in my lap, Colin puts up his hand and pushes the glass, as if to help me drink. He is very serious about this and puts in sustained effort.
rivka: (colin)
Colin turned four months old last week, and yesterday he had his four-month well baby visit. He is in fine form: happy, healthy, sociable, strong.

He is such a cheerful, amiable baby. When he wakes up in the morning he just beams at me. He loves to make eye contact and smile. He loves having people talk to him - not just familiar family members, but total strangers. He laughs a lot, an irresistable gurgling chuckle. He rarely cries or fusses, unless we're cruel enough to ask him to ride in the car.

He's a very vocal baby. Still not a great variety of sounds, of course - it's mostly lots of big open aaahhs and ohhhhs, with some /g/ and /b/ sounds thrown in. But he vocalizes a lot. He'll make a lot of noise even by himself, playing with his baby gym, but if you hold him face-to-face he coos away conversationally with great intensity.

Of course at four months he can grab and hold things and put things in his mouth. Baby toys have finally become objects of interest. He isn't particularly adept at handling things, but he does have a killer grip.

He's got great muscle tone. He loves to "stand" on our laps and makes frequent attempts to scale the north face of Mount Mama. When we put him on his stomach, he lifts his whole upper body with ease. He can roll over front-to-back. And he's got a powerful kick. Last night at dinner I had him nursing in the sling, and he kicked out one leg hard enough that it knocked Alex's water glass clear off the table.

Speaking of nursing, it's so easy now. In normal circumstances during the day he nurses for maybe 15 minutes every two hours. He latches himself on with verve, drinks until he's full, and then either unlatches and smiles at me to let me know that it's playtime again or else falls peacefully asleep. I do have to be careful, though, because he is not fussy about the targets he chooses for his remora-like latch and he's been known to give me painful hickeys if he misses the nipple. (I know, TMI, sorry.)

Sleep is starting to fall apart a bit, as we've hit the four month sleep regression, but even so it's not too bad. He usually goes down "for the night" around 9:30. I swaddle him tightly and keep him swaddled until morning. From 9:30 to around 7:30, he wakes only to nurse and goes straight back to sleep after he nurses, and during that time he can usually be easily put down in his swing or the cosleeper. Before the sleep regression he was giving me one 5-6 hour stretch and then sleeping for two-hour stretches until morning. Now, I'd say that I get one 4-5 hour stretch and then one- to two-hour stretches until morning, with at least one episode per night of being hard to put down. Which, again, is not so bad. I think things might go a bit more smoothly when the giant-but-thin-muslin swaddling cloths I ordered arrive - they should be more suitable for a larger baby and for summer sleep.

He's working on cutting a tooth. Or teeth. Drool flows copiously, and he likes to chew on things. He keeps his fingers in his mouth a lot, and chews on our hands and on toys. He hasn't seemed to show a lot of teething pain - just drooliness and chewiness. Let's hope that continues.

He loves Alex. She often makes him laugh, and he likes to lie on a blanket and watch her play. She has a special talking-to-Colin voice - hilariously, she will often repeat things I tell him using the special voice, as if she's translating - and hearing it really makes him smile. Unfortunately, one of the things he likes most about Alex is the way he can grab her hair in a death grip. She is remarkably tolerant of him... although she did suggest to me this morning that we put him up for adoption.

So, all in all, we're having a great time with babyhood here. Yay.
rivka: (colin)
Colin is two months old today. To celebrate, over the last few days I have put away almost all of the 0-3 month clothes and broken out the 3-6 month size. Alex always marched neatly along with the calendar matching the clothes sizes exactly, so this is kind of a departure for me although I realize it's par for the course for a lot of babies.

Colin feels very solid and heavy. He's got big hands with fat juicy fingers, and big solid meaty thighs, and cheeks that look like he's storing up nuts for the winter. He looks well-fed and satisfied and prosperous. I feel so good about being able to support this kind of growth with my milk.

He still nurses a lot. I think we just came off a growth spurt, actually, because there were three nights in a row in which he had one two-hour stretch of sleep before waking to feed and then the rest were shorter. (Last night went much better.) I'm curious to see what his eating patterns will be like when I go back to work, because when he's around me all day and I smell like milk and my breasts are right there and impossible to overlook he wants to latch on very, very frequently. Often just a few sips is enough to re-establish that all is right with his world.

Despite the frequent wakings, the nights aren't so bad. Okay, that three-night stretch was pretty bad. But for the most part I can't even tell you how many times a night he nurses. We co-sleep. When he starts grunting and rooting around it wakes me up and I haul myself into a sitting position (still can't nurse lying down) and feed him. Then a while later I realize that I've been asleep sitting up against the headboard, and he's asleep in my arms. I don't really wake up all the way unless something unusual happens. So I get decently rested.

Beyond eating and sleeping, there are now actually other things: quiet alert periods and active alert periods. Active alert periods involve lots of kicking and arm waving and vocalizations. Quiet alert periods are all about high-intensity gazing. He likes to look at us, but even more he likes to look at areas of high contrast, like a dark wood doorjamb against a white wall.

He does this fantastic thing where he initiates a long period of eye contact, smiles a lot, and coos. He actually says "goo, goo" like a baby in a comic strip. That and "ohhh." He'll coo at me and then I'll coo back and then he'll coo again - it's so cool the way conversational turn-taking gets established so early. And the smiles are fabulous.

He continues to be a very content, happy little boy. There are things he hates with nuclear intensity - riding in the car, having his clothes changed, sponge baths - but apart from those things he has few complaints. Although he prefers to be held, he can be put down in the swing or on a floor blanket for 10-15 minutes at a time without flipping out. That makes things so much easier!

Not much else is going on. I can put a lightweight rattle in his hand and he'll grip it, but he doesn't examine it or move it purposely. I think that happens next month.
rivka: (alex age 3.5)
I meant to do a developmental update in January; Alex is actually more like three years, ten months right now. But I realized that if I don't post one now I may not have another chance for quite a while. So here goes.

Cognition )

Play )

Social/Emotional Skills )
rivka: (alex smiling)
It's been a while since I did a developmental update, and suddenly Alex is three and a half. This got long, so I'm splitting it into two parts.

Verbal/Cognitive Development )

Physical Development )
rivka: (alex closeup)
Alex is two and a half, going on six. Or maybe sixteen. It's a roller coaster, these days. Lots of rapid development going on.

Verbal/Cognitive )

Physical )

Emotional and Social )
rivka: (alex closeup)
I thought I'd scale back a bit on the frequency of developmental updates, now that Alex is two. But the result is that I look back at the one I did in May and I can't believe how much she's changed since then.


Physical )

Mental )

Social )

Emotional )
rivka: (alex pensive)
Scene: walking through the park.
Alex: We don't walk on those flowers over there.
Me: Oh, are there flowers over there? I just see grass.
Alex: It's just grass. pause. I'm very tricky.

Read more... )
rivka: (Alex peeking)

Parents commonly joke that "The trouble with child psychology books is that my kid hasn't read any of them." But Alex? Has so obviously read all about the psychology of the two-year-old, and committed it all to heart. Read more... )


rivka: (Default)

April 2017



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