Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Out of the mouth of my babe

There's a lot going on with Biscuit's mouth these days.

He's got two pretty little teeth on the bottom in the middle. And he's getting ready to get the two middle ones on the top.

(The picture at right was when the bottom teeth were about halfway through.)

The first tooth gave Biscuit fits. He had a fever, tenderness, diarrhea (which I didn't even know could happen with teething), diaper rash, grumpiness and obviously, mouth pain. We quickly learned that Infant Tylenol and Baby Orajel are our friends.

Because of this, when the second tooth popped in, it really did seem like that's how it happened. It just popped right in ... no pain, no drama.

We're still waiting to see what happens with the top teeth. So far, he's just become the ultimate slobber master. It's worse than having a little puppy around the house. We walk around constantly stepping in little puddles of drool, and we sit down on furniture with wet spots on the edges. Any time we hold him, we either have drool down the fronts of our shirts or on our shoulders. And if we're sitting with our legs propped up, he'll use our legs as chew toys. It isn't so bad right now with only two teeth, but I predict a few bite marks in the coming weeks.

The other thing that's been coming from Biscuit's mouth lately is all sorts of noises. He's mastered the da-da-da, ma-ma-ma, ba-ba-ba noises. I'm not sure how long it will be before he makes those noises and realizes that he's referring to Jeff, me or his bottle.

Biscuit also makes all sorts of random noises. He has a motorboat noise (play video below). It's really funny when he makes that noise as he crawls. It sounds like he has a little motor that's making him go. He also makes a lot of razzing noise (also, see video below). And he makes just plain ol' hollering, whining, laughing, humming, mumbling types of noises (you guessed it, see video below).

I can't imagine what it's going to be like to hear actual words coming from that little mouth. Of course, I'm sure in a few years, when the attitude kicks in, I'll be wishing for the days when all he could say was da-da-da, ma-ma-ma and ba-ba-ba.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stylin' New Kicks

Biscuit is now the proud owner of a brand-spankin' new pair of Carter's tennis shoes (Jeff calls them sneakers, but we're still debating which term our Biscuit baby will use!).

One of the questions I had for the doctor at Biscuit's checkup was what kind of shoes he needs. He's not walking yet, but we are doing the practice runs with him by holding his hands and leading him around the house.

Biscuit and I are going to S.C. for Grandmama Stacks' birthday this weekend, and I knew my nieces and nephew would want to help him practice, too. So I figured we should go ahead and get something to protect his little feet.

The doctor said that some people would disagree with him, but that for right now, all he needs is some soft, comfy shoes that will protect his feet from any sticks or rocks he might step on. These little Carter's shoes are just the ticket.

I was surprised to learn, though, that just as the rules have changed about most everything baby-related, the shoe guidelines are different now, too. You used to have to get those white leather boots with the hard soles. Now, they say that the babies should go barefoot as much as possible so their feet can feel the floor. They say it helps adjust their balance and stride.

Of course, our parents put us to sleep on our bellies with a bottle propped up on a folded blanket without washing off our teeth, after we rode in the front seat of the car with no car seat or seatbelt swigging whiskey and smoking Camel unfiltereds. Okay, maybe we didn't do the last two things, but I'm just saying that it's amazing how much the rules have changed.

But like everything else baby-related, I think you just have call your mama, use some common sense and just do the best you can. And Biscuit will do the best he can in some stylin' new kicks!

Monday, August 17, 2009

9-Month Doctor Visit

I can't believe that Biscuit is 9 months old already. I took him for his checkup last week.

He fell asleep on the way from day care to the doctor, so when we got to the office, I put him in his stroller and wheeled him inside. The receptionist and nurses ooh-ed and ahh-ed over him. And I said, "Yeah, he's cute when he's asleep." I've used that line before, and it's gotten good laughs. But apparently, the people at the doctor's office just aren't my audience.

We really like the pediatrician practice we choose. There are about 8 doctors, so on the few occasions we've had to get an appointment quickly (one ear infection, one shot reaction and one case of the croop), they've always worked us in with no problem and no complaints. We also like all the doctors we've seen so far, especially the primary care guy we chose for him.

Biscuit weighed in at 18 pounds and 8 ounces, and he's 27 1/2 inches long.

Then the questions started. Babies have their first checkup appointment usually a day or two after you get home from the hospital. Then at 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. So seeing as this was our sixth checkup appointment, you'd think I'd know the routine.

I did start getting him undressed as soon as we went back. You have to have them in a dry diaper for the weigh-in. But I always seem to forget about the questions. And they're the kinds of questions that always make you feel put on the spot. You know, like when someone asks your address or phone number when you didn't realize they were going to ask for your address or phone number.

They ask things like:

  1. How many hours does your baby sleep during the day?
  2. How many hours does he sleep at night?
  3. How often do you feed the baby?
  4. What do you feed the baby?
  5. How active is the baby?
  6. How is the baby's temperament?
  7. How many diapers does your baby go through a day (specify how many wet and how many messy)?
  8. How well does your baby control his or her head?
  9. Does your baby imitate your facial expressions and sounds?
  10. Does your baby put objects into his or her mouth?
  11. Does your baby attempt to roll over?
  12. Can your baby sit with support?
  13. Does your baby pull up into a standing position?
  14. Does your baby use individual fingers to pick up small objects?

And here are the answers:

  1. 2 or 3 hours in short naps
  2. Anywhere between 10 and 12 hours
  3. Three times a day plus a couple of snacks
  4. Three 8-ounce bottles of formula and about 6 or 7 jars of baby food a day
  5. He can crawl and sit up on his own, and he's starting to pull up on anything that will hold his weight. He jumps and jumps and jumps in his exer-saucer and loves to bang the daylights out of his toys.
  6. He's a lot like his dad ... slow to anger and pretty laid back. He usually only cries when he's hungry, tired or doesn't feel well.
  7. 8-10 wet ones and lately, 3-4 poos (His excrement works in increments.)
  8. Very well. Especially if you call his name or he hears a Biscuitville commercial on TV. He also responds to the word "no" so well that Jeff and I have to be careful not to use it too strongly in our conversations or upon hearing that word, he'll drop whatever he has in his hands and look at us for further instruction.
  9. He's starting to. He says "ba-ba-ba," "da-da-da" and "ma-ma-ma." Jeff told him that if he knew what was best, he'd go with the "ma-ma-ma" sound and say "mama" first.
  10. Everything he can get his little hands on except finger foods. I offer him Cheerios, small chunks of ripe fruit and those little baby puffs, but he has no interest in any of that yet. Because of his teething, he leaves little puddles of slobber and drool everywhere.
  11. His roll is more of a flip. And he deploys this move most often while you're attempting diaper changes.
  12. Yes. Although, sometimes he sits on a toy, which causes him to lose his balance and fall over. He doesn't like it when that happens.
  13. As of this week, yes. Although, he's quickly figuring out which things will hold his weight and which ones won't as he tries to pull up on assorted objects around the house.
  14. Not yet. He still uses The Claw to pick things up.

So even though I can sit right here and clearly answer every one of these questions, when the nurse or doctor ask them, I'm like a deer in the headlights.

It didn't help, either, that Jeff couldn't go to this appointment. He had a work commitment. But I sure could have used his help, with more than just answering the questions.

I had some forms to fill out about Biscuit's physical and mental development, and trying to write with my left hand while holding Biscuit in the crook of my right arm, plus trying to keep his eager little hands from grabbing the pen, plus trying to hold the clipboard in place with my elbow ...

I'm just saying, I could've used the help.

Anyway, I had written a list of questions for the doctor and put it in my pocket with my cell phone. But at some point when I answered my phone, I dropped my list. Of course I didn't realize it was gone until I was at the doctor's office. So in between filling out the forms and fending off my nosey little Biscuit, I called Jeff to see if he could help me remember all the questions.

The only paper I had was the forms I was filling out, and I knew I couldn't write on those. So I started making my list on the paper they use to cover the exam tables. When the doctor came in, he asked, "What questions do you have for me?"

I said, "Well, I had to use a corner of this fine tablecloth you have here. Sorry if I messed it up." He laughed and said, "That's part of the appointment, so it belongs to you. You can tear it off and take it home with you if you'd like."

We chatted about Biscuit's development, and he said he was impressed with Biscuit's curiosity and development. I could have told him that we have the best and smartest baby alive, so he wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know! Our doctor has three girls, so he said he'd be glad to take Biscuit off our hands anytime we wanted to hand him over.

But by far, the best part of the appointment was when I realized that I had lied to Biscuit ... but in a good way.

The director at day care said the health nurse had a question about Biscuit's immunization record. She said he was due for his third DPT shot. I thought he had had it already, but I figured I just had it mixed up with one of the other shots he's had.

Come to find out, the way his immunization record printed, it looked like he was due for another shot, but he was all caught up. So I had told him he was getting a shot and then he didn't have to.

I was glad about that, and I'm sure if Biscuit had understood any of our discussion about it, he'd have been glad, too.

So we have a healthy, happy, curious 9-month-old who is caught up on his shots and has some fans at the doctor's office (the doctor included). I hope Biscuit continues to be fascinated and amused by the whole process instead of being afraid to go. Here's hoping!

Power Cords and Cabinet Doors and Trash Cans, Oh My!

As I mentioned last week, our Biscuit is on the move now. And he's getting faster and more skilled every day. Trying to get him to hold still for a diaper change would work a lot better if they made itty bitty straightjackets!

So Jeff and I have been spending a lot of time lately walking around behind this little crawling man. Every so often, he turns around to make sure we're still back there. Then he turns back and heads on his way.

We went ahead and bought a gate for the bottom of the stairs knowing that it wouldn't be long until Biscuit found the steps. I did a lot of research on safety features and installation. Our staircase goes up in the middle of the room, so there aren't walls to connect a gate to.

So I Googled it. What did we ever do before Google?

Anyway, I found several reports of screw-mounted gates that wiggled loose with the movement of the banisters. They also left big, ugly holes in the posts at the bottom of the stairs. One dad (think Tim the Toolman Taylor) suggested that you drill holes all the way through the posts and thread larger-than-needed bolts through with big, clunky nuts on the outside. I'm no interior decorator, but I'm thinking that would not be the most attractive of living room accessories.

I found one woman who had her husband use Zipties to attach their gates. There was also a couple who said they were on the verge of building a permanent fence at the bottom of their steps that they would just step over every time they wanted to go up or down the stairs.

Apparently, my Google search included the words "crazy people" and "lack of common sense."

I changed my search a little and found all I ever needed to know about pressure-mounted gates. They're perfect for when you don't have walls near the stairs, and there's no permanent damage to the banisters. But most importantly, they get the job done. They block the stairs so Mr. Biscuit won't take a tumble.

I found pressure-mounted gates ranging from $20 plastic ones that you step over to $200 fancy scrolled wrought iron ones with a door that opens in the middle. No screws, nails, bolts or Zipties needed.

My first instinct was to go as cheap as I could and still be safe. But the more I looked and the more I thought about it, I decided, if I'm going to have to look at this thing every day for at least a few years, I want it to look nice. Also, I'm not the tallest of people, so I just imagined myself trying to step over a gate while holding Biscuit. Or even worse, I pictured me catching my foot on the top of the step-over gate and tumbling while holding Biscuit down the stairs right into the back of the front door.

That's when I decided that we'd spend more than $20 but still WAY less than $200.
We got this nice wood and metal gate with a self-closing door in the middle that blends in with the decor of the living room. It actually looks kinda nice, as nice as baby protection devices can look, anyway.

So, I've gone to all this trouble and research thinking that I'm doing what's best for my son, only to realize after he started crawling that at least for right now, he has no idea that the stairs even exist. He gets carried up and down them but has shown no interest whatsoever in trying to get up or down them himself.

What does he notice, you ask? Well, all the things I haven't baby-proofed yet, of course.

Power cords and cabinet doors and trash cans, oh my! I guess it's back to the Google search for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The rundown

(A post from The Daddy Man)

I took Biscuit into our bedroom to change his diaper. He was wound up, and that's always an adventure.

He squirms and kicks while you're trying to remove the old diaper, sometimes causing more than a little bit of mess. Then he squirms and kicks some more while you try to wrap the new diaper around him. He's also gotten really fast at rolling over. It's more of a flip now than a roll.

We got through the diaper change, and as I was putting back all the tools of the trade, Biscuit flipped over and was gone. He took off crawling for the other side of the bed. He's fearless and will crawl off the bed and fall if he's not stopped.

I got to the other side of the bed to catch him. But when he saw me coming, he turned around and went back the other way. We played this game a couple of times before Kim came in and covered one side while I covered the other.

It was just like a baseball rundown with too many throws.

He's on the move

I know I shouldn't admit this, but at the end of last weekend, I said to Jeff, "I think I liked the boy better when he couldn't move by himself."

We spent the entire weekend saying, "No, Biscuit," "Don't touch that, Biscuit," "Get away from there, Biscuit," "Come back in here, Biscuit."

Yep. He's on the move.