Wednesday, November 30, 2011

33-34 months for John

Another few months have already passed for John! Our little dude always corrects us when we say he's "our little boy." He'll say, "No, I'm a big boy!" or "No, I'm a big man!"

John has settled into a good routine now. He has preschool every Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 until 2:30, and he LOVES it! He has quite a few "buddies" from school, and he talks about them constantly, especially Raffa (short for Raphael), Danny and Julian. One of John's favorite parts of the school day -- besides hanging with his buddies -- is art time. It's so nice for him to bring home an adorable piece of art at the end of the day! His teachers say that he takes art time very seriously, and I believe it, since we're constantly doing crafts at home (coloring, painting, etc.). I bought a corkboard strip on sale at Pottery Barn Kids that we're going to put up in the playroom to display his many projects.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we go to the YMCA, which is just about a mile from our house. I try to get us out the door by 8:40 so I can go to a 9:00 class, and then we try to leave again around 10:15 so we can get home in time for Lila's first nap. The Y is totally awesome -- and since we have a free military family membership that includes free unlimited childcare for one child (Lila), we only end up paying $15 a month for John's (unlimited) childcare! John loves playing with the other kids in the childcare center. He always looks forward to meeting new buddies. Last Tuesday, he was having so much fun there that he didn't want to leave and he started to cry! He had been coloring a picture of Spiderman with one of the teachers.

Fridays are our "wildcard" days. Since we've been doing so much traveling lately, we like to keep that day open. If we have to go to Illinois that week, we leave Thursday morning after Lila wakes up from her first nap, which means we spend Friday in Illinois. This winter, I plan to make Friday morning our "swimming" day at the Y -- I'll drop Lila off at the childcare center and take John with me to the pool area. (He's been asking about the pool there ever since we took a tour of the gym back in August.) On the weekends, Daddy can come with us to the Y and we can take both kids to the pool!

So what do we do the rest of the day during the week? On Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Lila and I pick John up from school and do a short outing before we have to go back to the house for Lila's second nap. This is something we've just started doing in the last few weeks -- now that Lila's older and doesn't need her second nap as early, we have time to go somewhere for a little while. This past Monday afternoon, for example, we went to the Brookfield mall for an hour. Today, we went to the library in Wauwatosa. Later, while Lila is taking her second nap, John and I play together (preferably outside if it's not freezing cold) or do some chores -- he loves to do chores (cleaning the downstairs bathroom, washing dishes, cooking or baking, raking leaves). Occasionally, if I can tell John is really tired (i.e. if he didn't nap during naptime at school), I'll put on a short program for him to watch on his "special 'puter" (portable DVD player).

On Tuesdays and Thursdays after we get home from the gym, I try to have a project for John to do while Lila's sleeping if it's too cold to play outside. It might be an art project, or it might be a project like bringing up all the Christmas decorations from the basement and deciding where to put them in the house. I like to involve him in as many household tasks/decisions as possible because it makes him feel grown-up. If I can't think of anything for him to do and I can tell he's getting really bored (which can cause him to act out), I put on an episode of Sesame Street, which is on PBS Kids from 11 to noon. I figure it's better for him to sit and watch an educational program than to get so bored that he starts misbehaving.

After lunch, we start the wind-down process. John still has "naptime" around 1 or 1:30 p.m., although he hasn't consistently fallen asleep during naptime for at least a couple of weeks. (He falls asleep during school naptime about 50% of the time.) If he is acting especially tired and I think it's possible he might sleep, I'll close the shades in his room. Usually, though, he won't be tired enough to fall asleep and he'll get bored after awhile, so I'll go back in to open the shades and bring him some books to read or toys to play with (it's so dark in his room with the shades closed that he can't see to read/play unless I open them). I give him about 45 minutes to an hour for "naptime" if he hasn't fallen asleep before I go to get him.

The transition to no nap has been a bit difficult. John usually can't fall asleep for a nap, but most days he could still use one. It's strange because he always seems to be ready to go to sleep when we head upstairs for naptime, but he just can't fall asleep. I've tried moving naptime around to different times, too (as early as 12:45 and as late as 2), but nothing works on a regular basis. To make up for the lost nap, we've been putting him to bed earlier -- around 7 p.m., but sometimes earlier if he's especially tired. Tonight we put him down at 6:30 because he was having a really hard time at dinner. He'll probably be up at 7 tomorrow morning (his usual wake-up time), so at least he's getting 12+ hours of total sleep. One of my sleep books says that 11.5-11.75 hours of total sleep is the average for this age.

But enough with the mundane stuff and on to a couple of fun facts about John!

- John has become very finnicky about pajamas. If it's not bath night, he often asks to sleep in his clothes. If it is bath night and his clothes are already off, he'll usually be o.k. with putting pajamas on if he can pick them out. He always picks out a pair of his summer pajamas, so we end up putting a pair of warm fleece pajamas on underneath so he doesn't freeze. Some of the combinations he has been wearing lately are pretty interesting! In the morning, John wants to put on his clothes right away. It is the rare occasion that he still has his pajamas on at breakfast.

- John wants to be just like his little sister. If Lila is holding one of her blankets, he wants to hold one too. If Lila is eating Cheerios out of her snack cup, he wants to eat Cheerios out of a snack cup too. If Lila is playing with a certain toy, he wants to play with it too. It is exhausting for Mommy to keep up with all the ways in which John wants to copy Lila!

- John LOVES sports -- playing them, talking about them and/or listening to their radio broadcasts. Baseball and football are his favorites. Daddy has done a great job of playing catch with John in the front yard and teaching him about tackling in football (John thought tackling meant going up to an opponent and tickling him, hehe). It's been really fun this fall to be in Wisconsin, since all the major sports teams here have had great seasons! We followed the Brewers very closely, and John still wears the Brewers hat Daddy had gotten for him at a June game at Miller Park. Now we're well into the Packers' season.

-I keep forgetting to post about how John is progressing with his German, but he is still doing amazingly well. When I speak to him in German, he understands almost everything I say -- it's unbelievable. And he responds to me -- correctly -- in English. I'm especially amazed because I haven't been as diligent about speaking to him in German as I was when we still lived in Illinois. But I do still play a lot of German music in the car. That's helped him learn a bunch of traditional German children's songs (his favorites are "Backe, backe Kuchen" and "Bruderchen, komm tanz mit mir") and the German alphabet. I'm still so impressed that he can keep the two alphabets separate!

And some photos.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Party pics / Halloween

Thanks to Aunt Ruthanne and Uncle Steve, we attended the Pumpkin Patch Party at Ruth Lake again this year. It was on the Sunday before Halloween. (Last year, this was our last family outing before Lila was born two days later!)

Lila wore her kitty costume and John wore most of his pirate costume. (For some reason, John didn't want to wear the pirate-y shirt I had brought for him to wear to the party, so he wore a blue striped shirt. But he had his hat, eye patch, hook and sword.) It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon -- warm enough to forego the coats.

We did the tractor-led hay ride out to the "pumpkin patch" to select our pumpkins. While Lila, Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Ruthanne and Aunt Beverly hung out in the patch, Uncle Steve and John went joy-riding in a golf cart. Uncle Steve came all the way over from his hospital (where he was on call) to hang out with his little buddy John.

John had his face painted like a pirate before dinner. The face painting lady did an incredible job! Here he is eating his hotdog. (I should mention that John LOVES pirates. He has this book about pirates that is personalized for him, and I think that's what got him on his pirate kick. A couple of months ago, he started pretending that our turkey baster was a telescope, saying things like "Aye, matey" or "Ahoy matey!" We meant to make the turkey baster part of his costume, but we forgot.)

For the actual day of Halloween, we were in Illinois because Grandma Kay Ellen had been hospitalized again. I had forgotten to bring our camera with us, so the only photos I have from that day are on Daddy's iPhone. Aunt Katharine was kind enough to stay back at Grandma's house to hand out candy and prepare our spaghetti dinner for us so we could take the kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.

It was really nice to see all the neighbors again -- John knows them so well from having lived at Grandma's for a whole year. This year, John definitely knew what trick-or-treating was about. We had forgotten his plastic trick-or-treating pumpkin, so he used the pail we had gotten him for Easter. He loved filling it up with candy and sorting through it, but he only got one or two pieces of it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lila at 12 months

Before time completely gets away from me, here are a few things to know about Lila at 12 months:

Measurements: At her 12-month doctor's visit on October 27th, she weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 29.5 inches long. I wasn't surprised by either measurement. I've always thought she felt a lot lighter than John did at this age, and my hunch proved to be true. John weighed 20 pounds, 11 ounces at his 12-month appointment -- nearly two pounds more than Lila! He was also an entire inch longer than her (30.5 inches). Lila is still very long for a baby girl her age, though. She's above the 75th percentile for height and is between the 25th and 40th percentile for weight.

Teething: Right after she turned 11 months old (while we were visiting Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff), Lila cut her 6th tooth. Her 7th and 8th teeth (the ones on either side of her bottom middle teeth) came in before she turned 12 months. Her first one-year molar broke through the skin this past Monday, November 7th. She was chewing like crazy on her fingers that day, so I got out the teething biscuits again for her. Those were a big help.

Nursing/Eating: I am still nursing Lila and will continue to nurse her at least another month (I nursed John until he was 14.5 months old). She nurses four times a day: first thing in the morning, after her first nap, after her second nap and before bed. I now only nurse her from one side at the last two feedings because she is eating so much more and because she's learning how to drink from a cup.

Speaking of drinking from a cup, I was very lazy about starting this (and being consistent with it). I've really only started regularly giving her a cup at her meals in the past week or two, but luckily she seems to be catching on to the whole drinking thing pretty quickly. She has two cups with spouts and one straw cup. On Thursday (November 10th) I gave Lila her first cup of cow's milk. As soon as I can be sure she's drinking well from a cup, I plan on cutting out the third nursing in the afternoon and replacing it with cow's milk.

Lila loves food. Since she started eating more "real food" than pureed baby food (which happened around 11 months), she has only disliked broccoli. I can't get her to eat it at all. She is a huge fan fruits, veggies and grains, but she doesn't seem to be as wild about meat. She'll eat it just fine, but she doesn't usually want seconds.

Sleeping/Schedule: We are playing around with Lila's schedule a little, especially since Daylight Savings Time ended last week. She definitely needs two naps still, but she sleeps less time at each one. This past week, she has slept really, really well at night, which has been a tremendous help to her tired Mommy. I think she slept through the night three times.

This is her new schedule:
7 a.m. - Wake up and nurse
8 a.m. - Breakfast
around 9:30 or 10 a.m. - 1st nap (about 90 mins.)
around 11 or 11:30 a.m. - Wake up and nurse
12:30 p.m. - Lunch
around 2:30 or 3 p.m. - 2nd nap (about 90 mins.)
around 4 or 4:30 p.m. - Wake up and nurse (one side only)
5:30 pm. - Dinner
7 p.m. - Nurse/Bedtime (one side only)

Since Daylight Savings Time ended, I've started putting Lila down for her morning nap before our first outing of the day. She has been so tired by 9:30 that there's been no way we could do an outing anywhere.

Walking/Standing: Lila started letting us walk her around the house in early October. (Before then, she'd just bend over really far to let us know that she wanted to get down and crawl.) At first, her walking looked a lot like marching -- she would lift her legs (especially the left one) ridiculously high. Here's a video of it from October 16th!

Goose stepper from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

In mid-October, she started getting interested in her walkers and could push the Chicco activity walker around with very little assistance from Mommy or Daddy. During a few stays at Grandma Kay Ellen's house, she got acquainted with John's old Chicco push train that we had left there when we moved. That quickly became a favorite for her. Now she's obsessed with the Radio Flyer push wagon that John got for his 1st birthday. As of Monday (November 7th), she can push it on her own (no easy feat, since it's extremely heavy and difficult to steer). She does lap after lap after lap around the house with the wagon. It's a great pre-bedtime routine!

Lila stood alone for about 8-10 seconds on Tuesday (November 8th). Since then, she has let go several times of things she's holding onto and stood for a few seconds at a time. I love seeing the look of surprise on her face!

Climbing: We have a climber on our hands. Lila can't get enough of climbing the stairs at our house and at Grandma Kay Ellen's house. Once she gets to the top, she wants to go right back down on her own, regardless of the fact that she doesn't know how. Our house doesn't have carpeted stairs, so it might be a while before we teach her -- she's too little still. Lila also enjoys trying to climb on and off riding toys.

First words: Lila's first "real" word was "uh-oh"!!! She said it the first time on October 17th while she was sitting in her highchair during lunch. She had dropped her spoon or a piece of food on the floor, and out it came! Grandma Bonnie and I could not believe our ears. I grabbed the video camera as fast as I could, and luckily, she obliged me by saying it again on camera another half dozen times or so.

"Uh-oh" girl from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Lila also says "wow" a lot now. If you say "wow" to her, she'll repeat it over and over again. We did this last week on the way to pick John up from school.

Although she can say "ma ma" and "da da" (and a bunch of other syllables), I can't be sure yet that she is actually referring to me or her Daddy when she says them. She did say "da da da da" a whole bunch of times the other day when Daddy went to get her from her nap.

She also "talks" a lot in everyday situations. For instance, if you give her a phone (or something that looks a bit like a phone), she'll say something that sounds like "hi." If she's trying to give you something, she'll say something that sounds like "here you go."

Funny things: The week of October 17th, Lila figured out that when she was sitting on something soft like a bed or the couch, she could fall backwards and throw her legs in the air and it would be fun. She loves to play this game with Mommy, who tickles her like crazy once she has fallen over.

For at least the past month, Lila has put her elbow up to ear to simulate talking on the phone. When she does it, we tell her to call Papa Jeff.

Lila got her first Munchkin "snack catchers" a couple of weeks ago, and they have been inseparable ever since. Even when she has finished the snack inside, Lila continues her death grip on the catcher. Sometimes she even naps with it! Hey, it's easier than trying to pry it out of her hands. John also likes to use the catchers for snacks.

Lila now gives kisses! We first noticed she could give kisses the other night when Daddy was reading a book to her about Elmo. Daddy asked her to give Elmo a kiss, and she bent down and kissed the page! She gives Mommy and Daddy kisses too. Tonight she gave Daddy open-mouthed kisses and Mommy closed-mouth kisses.
That's all for now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birthday party pics!

At long last, here are the pics from Lila's 1st birthday party!

We asked Grandma Kay Ellen to present Lila with her birthday cupcake, since Lila is named for her Grandma (Lila Kay). Lila was very intrigued with the dessert (carrot cake) and only made one funny face while she was eating. She has always been an adventurous eater, and she didn't disappoint this time either! I was a little surprised that she didn't eat more -- I think she ate a quarter of it. After a while, she started holding the cupcake against her chest, as if she were trying to keep it hidden, hehe.

Lila had a LOT of help opening her presents. There were three very active boys at the party (John and his two buddies Jacob, 4, and Connor, 2), and since we were trying to keep them entertained, we thought it would be a good idea for them to start the process for her while she was finishing up her cupcake. Needless to say, it got a little out of hand. But at least the gifts were ready for her to play with by the time she got out of her highchair! She loved them all. Thank you, everyone!