What a month! I’ve had some better days at work along with some more exhausting ones with one 30-minute pumping and eating break in each 13-hr shift. But I’ve made peace with that. Sometimes Sam gets formula but nursing at night and all day on my days off is keeping my supply up for now so that I don’t have to give up breastfeeding, and I’ll take it.
We also kept busy with fall activities and Halloween. Fall is my favorite season and I always want to visit a farm and pumpkin patch, rake leaves, and take lots of pictures! For Halloween, I was determined to make costumes with Ari’s participation, so that created some stress. It was worth it and Ari had so much fun in his costume, but I still felt relieved when it was over!
Then there was this chilling presidential election. I’m so glad I don’t have older kids, to whom I would have to explain that even though their new president has gotten away with horribly sexist and racist comments, belittling people over their looks, mocking someone’s disability, being completely demeaning toward women and bragging about assaulting them, and generally being a childish bully – that behavior is still unacceptable! I’m also just terrified of what kind of shape the planet will be in when the kids I do have are older, and what kind of future they will have.
Anyway, back to October! This was a nice moment, reading with the boys:
I think A. sent me this photo while I was at work:
Another day at home:
We had a park play date with a friend of Ari’s from school, and it was cold and rainy so I got Sam bundled up and he was cute:
That day, we also had the boys’ conferences at school. It was kind of funny to have a conference about Sam. I sure worry less about all the little things with him than I did with Ari! But the teachers for both kids had very nice things to say and gave us sweet little stories about them. Both boys are characterized as being generally happy, smiling a lot, and thriving on social interaction. Even Sam seems to be showing interest in the other babies in his class, smiling at them and reaching out to touch them. It’s amazing to think of these tiny babies forming relationships already!
One day at home with the boys, I made Ari a tent by draping a blanket over a tall chair. I also set up Ari’s old high chair and put Sam in it. And Sam’s new rain suit arrived!
The next day, Sam had his 4-month appointment. He’s definitely dropped down the curve lines on the growth charts, but the doctor wasn’t concerned. I don’t know whether he’s still showing signs of the lost ground before his surgery, or if he was just too big when he was born because of my gestational diabetes, or what. At this appointment, they measured his length at 25 inches, in the 26th percentile on the WHO chart, while at his birth he was in the 96th percentile. He weighed 15 and a half pounds, in the 46th percentile, and at birth he was in the 92nd. His head circumference dropped from the 96th (at birth) to the 88th percentile, but I think they measured too high on his head, where it was smaller. 🙂 In any case, he still had some rapid weight gain after the surgery!
I’ve been reading a lot about feeding babies and toddlers and kids, and plan to write more about that as soon as I can. Anyway, we’re making some changes around here! One of them is this booster thing for Ari’s chair so he can sit at the table with us. It’s called a Kaboost, and it works really well!
Also, I started feeding Sam some solids! He was just under 4 and a half months old the first time. I know the current recommendations are to wait until 6 months, but I read one book that said a good sign of their readiness is that you feel guilty eating in front of them, and we’ve definitely reached that point! If I hold him or have him near me while I’m eating, he watches my fork, spoon, or hand with the food all the way to my mouth, with his eyes wide and hungry-looking and his mouth open (and he’s almost always drooling). Of course, it’s more about wanting to put things in his mouth, and he’s not really swallowing the food I give him, but at least he’s getting exposed to some new flavors. We started with iron-fortified organic baby oat cereal mixed with breast milk, then gave him some pumpkin puree after a few days, then some unsweetened applesauce. I’ve also let him teethe on a raw apple slice and raw carrot, but I keep a tight grip on those. Here’s a picture from the first time he had cereal:
I love the way he sleeps on his back!
On my weekend off, we went to a pumpkin patch/farm with my aunt. It was the first nice day in a long time so it was very muddy and crowded, but there was a lot to do and Ari loved it!
Boy, Ari has grown!
For comparison, two years earlier:
Back to this year – a hay pyramid (okay, straw):
The animals are always a hit:
This place had this amazing pit of dried corn! (Maybe a week later, while I was doing laundry, I shook out a pair of Ari’s pants to unfold the cuffs and was startled by these small, hard kernels flying around, hitting me and making a loud sound as they struck the metal washing machine! It took me a second to figure out what had happened!)
We hitched a ride to the pumpkin patch:
On the ride back, Ari was trying to put his filthy hands in his mouth and I was trying to stop him by holding onto his hands. Finally, he looked at me and said calmly, “Mommy, keep your hands to yourself.”
And we made use of their photo spot:
Ari had such a great time! On the way home, he said, “Let’s just talk about pumpkins.” My aunt got him a tiny decorative pumpkin in the shop there, and Ari clutched it all the way home and slept with it that night. I woke up early in the morning with a pumpkin stem in my back because he’d brought it into our bed! At story time on Monday, he told the librarian all about our trip to the field with lots of pumpkins.
The day after the pumpkin patch trip, we carved the pumpkins and roasted the seeds. Yummm! I still remember how much I loved those pumpkin seeds as a little kid! Also, this was the first year we’ve carved pumpkins as a family.
Ari requested a surprised face, then a sad face, then a happy face.
At the end of the month, we finally had some leaves to rake:
Later we walked to our neighborhood gelato spot. Ari requested chocolate and squealed gleefully when he was handed his cup. He shared a lot of it with us, though!
Ari drew the big green heart in the middle:
And this chair:
I had some days that were really, really hard with Ari doing everything he could to get my attention, including hitting and biting me. Heartbreakingly, he would say, “Mommy, spend time with me!” He seemed to be feeling very jealous of Sam and was so disruptive (turning on lights, shouting, etc.) when I was trying to get Sam down for his naps that I started locking him out of our bedroom, where Sam sleeps. One day, he was so angry that he went in his room and knocked things over and threw things.
Clearly, I’m doing something wrong! I’ve just been tired and not feeling well and not patient or consistent enough. It also doesn’t help that Ari won’t nap anymore. Here are some posters I made and put on our dining room walls to help us be consistent with our routines:
On the other hand, at times when I’ve calmly told him that I felt sad or angry after he deliberately made a mess, I’d find him methodically cleaning up cards or whatever he’d tossed on the ground. Then he would say, “Mommy, I cleaned it all up!”
Here is Sam eating cereal:
A nice moment:
Fun in the leaves!
Our friends who live close by came over while I was at work during the weekend and sent me these photos:
Sam eating pumpkin:
I got a surprise day off work and was able to attend the Harvest Faire at the boys’ school! I was really excited about the horse-drawn wagon rides:
Ari’s favorite thing was the book sale:
We finished the masks just in time for Halloween! Sam was the mouse from the Gruffalo book, and Ari was the Gruffalo. Alan was the owl, I was the snake, and we decided that Andrew (with no costume) was the fox! Ari enjoyed telling his brother, “Sam, you’re going to be a mouse for Halloween!”
Sam in the sock monkey outfit (you can’t tell in this picture though) that Ari wore for his first Halloween:
Ari chose to go to story time and show the librarian his costume instead of going to his classroom party in the morning. In this picture, you can see the “purple prickles” on his back! Also the white felt claws and “turned out toes.” We re-purposed his monkey costume from last year, cutting the hood and banana off of it.
After story time, we went to Sam’s classroom party, then stopped by Ari’s class so he could show his friends and teachers his costume:
And more pictures at home!
Ari’s first trick-or-treating! He loved it! Some houses had decorations that were too scary for him, but mostly he loved going up and knocking on doors and seeing “what kind of candy” people had. He seemed to think he was collecting different kinds, because he turned one down because he already had it!
Here you can see the “poisonous wart” he drew on his nose:
Oh boy… Ari’s first candy! (Since he spit out jelly beans on Easter.)
Later, playing guitar:
A play date at an indoor gym:
Sam, enjoying a book:
Out to dinner with my parents:
A. and my parents took the boys to the zoo while I was at work and they sent me these pictures:
Sam turned 5 months old!
I’m in the middle of three days off with them because the school is closed for a couple of days. We’re all sick, so we’re mostly staying at home, but so far we’ve had a park trip one day:
Both boys have had runny noses and coughs and I’ve been sick off and on now that the school year has started up. One morning, when I was still in bed, Ari asked me, “What would make you feel better?” I told him I was going to have a cup of tea to help me feel better. Ari said, “I’m going to ask Daddy to… I’m going to ask Daddy something.” He padded out to the kitchen and I heard him say, “Daddy, will you make Mommy some tea?”
Another cute Ari story: He’s noticed how we talk to Siri on the phone and he’s been trying to do the same. He’ll shout requests at our phones or tell us to “ask Siri” or “tell Siri” something. One day Alan had his phone in his pocket as he walked with Ari up to the doors of the school, and Ari was shouting at his pocket the name of the song he wanted to hear. There was another dad there, laughing.
Yesterday, we made carrot pumpkin banana muffins using this recipe but I doubled it, used whole wheat pastry flour, put a little extra pumpkin in, a little less maple syrup, added a dollop of blackstrap molasses, replaced half of the oil with applesauce, and added about 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts. They’re pretty good! Very moist and healthy-tasting.
At one point, I had to leave the room and Ari told me he would take care of Sam. I came back and he had pulled up his stool like this:
And some fun this evening: