Its been a while since I wrote just a regular post.
Its been pretty busy around here. My sister's baby shower was using up a lot of my time for a while, and then we had to go down to MA Mother's Day weekend for the shower. We left on a Friday (after hosting play group that morning and Mike fixing the lawn mower), and came back Sunday. Everything about the shower worked out wonderfully. Everything we made was good. We didn't forget anything important. We didn't have way too much or too little food. I'm working on a separate post about the shower itself.
As I wrote in a different post, Mother's Day night William gave me a gift: He slept through the night by himself for the first time. This was totally unexpected. Its been almost two weeks and he continues to sleep through the night. Well, maybe I should clarify sleep. He wakes, but he puts himself back to sleep with little or no crying. I had to go in last night at 130, which I was bothered about at the time. I don't want him falling back into old habits, but looking back now I think he might have truly been hungry. It was 80 in his room at bed time so I don't think he ate enough then and we missed a feeding earlier in the day due to friends visiting. We know he is teething, too. For about three days he had a fever, but those nights he didn't need me to to come in, which seems strange that he would need me the night after the fever broke. He has 7 teeth cut now. We are hoping that #8 comes through soon and we get a break for a little while.
Its been odd knowing that I can go to bed and actually go to bed for the night. I actually can go through some sort of night time routine again because I won't have to just get up again. I have been having trouble falling asleep in our bed though since I'm so used to the other bed after 8 months, and I'm not comfortable laying in our bed for a whole night since I used to get up several times a night. Same with the evenings. William was doing pretty good most nights until bed time, but it wasn't until he went all night that I started to feel more relaxed.
Right when he got his fever, William also seemed to start a developmental leap (or a Wonder Week as the book we have calls it). He suddenly allowed us to let him sit in the bath without fighting Mike the whole time. He's eating more food, rather than spitting it out or dropping it. He can sit through a book sometimes. He is interested in books if I leave them out for him. He is interested in his reflection. He seems to be mimicking sounds and trying to say words. The two big ones are MMM sounds with some vowels for "mum" and a GAGA sound he makes when Mike tells him goodnight every night after bath. And of course his gross motor skills are amazing. He is getting very good at standing alone. Most of the time he will cruise around the coffee table and then pick up a toy and play with it without holding on. We have seen a step or two, but nothing serious yet. You can see him thinking about things, judging if he can make a distance or how to move to get something he dropped. And he is in love with Mike. When he gets home, William crawls at him so fast saying DADA. When we are home, he is very independent and will just roam around the room playing. He will even leave the room to follow a cat, or to follow Natalie to her room, or even to go to the shoes by the door to chew on them. A few times I've seen him start to do some more advanced stuff. It sometimes appears he is showing a toy he is playing with to us. It also looks like he is trying to add a block to a stack sometimes. He likes chewing on puzzle pieces and I think he has tried to put one back before.
We have also adjusted William's routine. He now is getting a bath every night. So, usually he gets undressed at the kitchen table when Mike gets him up because he is still so messy. Then he plays for a bit while I finish up the kitchen. Then they have bath together, and I take William after Mike and Natalie say good night. (Natalie finishes up Natalie's bath and brings her in to play while I put William to bed). I have been trying to be very careful about doing the next set of things in order. I set him down and do his diaper, then lotion, pjs, and a book before we nurse while I read to him from our current book on the Kindle, which is Jungle Book right now. He doesn't nurse to sleep most nights. I sit him up for a hug in between sides and he often burps while I get a little snuggle. We have his blanket with us and if it isn't too hot, I wrap it over him and pull it up so he can touch it. When its time to get up, I get more hugs and snuggles before putting him in the crib. I lay down his blanket for him to lay on, tell him I love him, and leave. Most nights he doesn't get up to watch me leave anymore.
That's just the bedtime routine. During the day I've tightened things up a bit, too. He goes down for his nap at 8 give or take 30 minutes depending on when he got up. Nap is at 130, again give or take 30 minutes depending on his behavior and if he took a catnap in the car. I've been working on making sure he gets more day time nursings, too. For example, today he had one when he got up, before nap, after nap, once while we were out, after lunch in the high chair, at least once more before nap 2, when he got up from nap, and then bed time. I try to make sure he gets one around 5 to keep him happy until bed time so that dinner goes smoothly. I feel bad waking him up when he is sleeping in the car on our way home from activities, but I can't leave him out in the car by himself while I do Natalie's lunch. I used to sit out in the car with Natalie, but I can't do that with him. Besides, it really is better in the long run that I get him up and make him sleep in his crib.
Meanwhile, Natalie is doing all kinds of new things because her joints are so much better. The biggest one is learning how to put her shoes on by herself. She is very proud of that. She can also take off a sweatshirt if its unzipped, pull down her pants, take off her shoes, and help put her arms in her shirt. When doing crafts we learned that she is really good at covering an object with paint; she works very carefully to get every piece of it covered. She also just learned how to uncap a marker. I've noticed a lot of pretend play happening for her. It revolves around several subjects. One is babies. She has been liking to play baby, both her being the baby or a toy. There was a week there when she asked to nurse and I let her for a few days. She just kissed me and giggled. She also pretends to roll away when getting her diaper done or crawls around. Another area of pretend is acting out things she's seen on TV. This seems creative, but then I was reading this book (Superbaby) and its making me feel like TV is stifling her creativity because she is repeating the stories instead of making her own. Yet, she does the same for books. She acts out Three Billy Goats Gruff and Charlie and Lola and Maisy just as much as TV and movies, and no one would say reading is bad for kids. To furhter add to her pretend play, I've noticed her actually pretending to have objects. I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but she is able to pretend to have a necklace or a cup or whatever instead of needing an object to represent it, though she usually likes to have an object.
Along with all this new mobility and feeling so much better, Natalie has been able to explore her independence and boundaries. We've seen some real tantrums. Throwing herself on the ground screeching tantrums. We had one in a parking lot today and one in a Wendy's restroom yesterday. Mostly she just needs to be given a minute to get herself in control and it helps if I mirror what she is feeling or what happened. She just more naughty now in general. We had about two weeks of awesome eating, too, but now we are back to some nights she doesn't eat more than a bit or two of dinner. The same can happen at breakfast, but not as often at lunch. Sometimes I feel like I should give her less choice and just give her a full, balanced plate of food at all meals like we do dinner, but it has been too hard to do that. I've considered making her a lunch the night before like moms of school children do.
One other positive thing happening with us is that we started to have a Friday play date with three or four other moms. We take turns hosting. I've really enjoyed having something fun for the kids to do on Fridays and getting out to see the other moms, all of whom I really like. We started with our family and three other moms, and the oldest kids were all girls within three months of Natalie. Then there was William and a boy four months younger than him. One of the other moms is due to have her second baby in July and the fourth mom is due in the late fall I think it is. So, we have a really nice balance of ages, though the group is girl dominate. I've really enjoyed watching the kids interact. We've formed a close relationship with one family in particular. Natalie and this girl are almost exactly the same age and have known each other since they were one, but over the last couple months of seeing each other 1-3 times a week, at play group, the library, the park, and each other's homes, they have really started to understand each other. They hold hands when they walk. They ask each other to play chase. They dance together. They miss each other. The sometimes hug goodbye. That's not to say they don't ever argue, but they don't seem to really fight over things anymore with pushing or taking.