Peter at Five Years Old

20151121Sara WeberPhotography1

Five year old Peter (Photo by Sara Weber Photography)

Peter turned five in August, just a week before starting kindergarten. Our family celebrated on his actual birthday at Chuck E Cheese, and the next weekend we continued with an overnight trip to Disneyland (finally experienced the new Paint the Night parade and the new fireworks show). His birthday gifts included a scooter, a soccer ball, a hopping ball, a remote control quadcopter, a new CD player, and the Frozen soundtrack.

Earlier today I was reading through my blog post about Peter at age four, and he seems so much more grown up now! While he still has the joie de vivre that I wrote about in that post, and can still be very quiet and get lost in his own world, two big differences are that he doesn’t nap anymore, and he plays with Benjamin a lot more. He started resisting his nap about halfway through the summer, and since school was only a few weeks away, we just let him stop cold turkey. Now, on the days that he and Benjamin are at home in the afternoon, they either play video games together or go in the backyard together and hang out during “quiet time” (They would be the first to tell you that I’m serious business about not waking Madeleine up from her nap!). Over the summer, Peter developed his video game skills. He keeps up with his brother pretty well on games like Minecraft, Terraria, and Joyride Turbo. He also likes Just Dance and Lego: Harry Potter.

It’s been a few months since his birthday, and Peter is settling in to kindergarten – having fun, making friends, and making progress with his sight words, writing, and math skills. The boys’ school is one of the few that is still holding on to half day kindergarten. While the mid-morning start time makes it difficult to run errands or otherwise be productive, Madeleine and I enjoy having Peter home with us for a leisurely breakfast and play time. The two of them have really bonded due to this extra one on one time – it’s so sweet to see them interact. Some mornings we end up going to the Y or running to Target for a few things, but mostly we just stay home for the couple of hours between Benjamin’s early drop off and Peter’s later drop off.

The weird start time means that Peter has to eat what we’ve dubbed his “early, early lunch.” He usually eats at 10:15, and we drop him off around 10:45. Brad and I finally stopped buying hot dogs and Lunchables after seeing so many articles about how awful they are for you. Now, we have a small rotation of lunch items that Peter enjoys: soup, tuna salad, black bean and cheese taquitos, smoothies, cheesy eggs, etc. One funny highlight of our morning is finding out what the letter of the day is on Sesame Street. All three of us like the catchy song that introduces the segment, and we all guess what the letter will be (and Madeleine and I dance around – Peter is too busy eating his lunch), before it is finally revealed.

Some of Peter’s favorite things:

  • Candy – Our handsome Captain America was thrilled with all the goodies he received for Halloween, both while trick-or-treating and at the several fall festivals we attended.
  • Soccer – He enjoys playing at the park with Brad and Benjamin, and at the Y.
  • Chef’s class – Another class the boys take at the Y is Junior Chefs. Peter’s eyes always light up when I tell him it’s chefs class day.
  • Thai food – We were surprised when he started loving Thai food, but he is always the first to vote for it when we are deciding what to order for delivery. All around, he’s a much more adventurous eater than he was a year ago.
  • Pajamas – The boy loves to be comfy and cozy, just like his mom!
  • Playdates He is our social boy – loves to be in the middle of a group of friends having fun!
  • Getting out of the House – While Benjamin would be happy to stay home most of the time, Peter is always asking where we are going, what we are doing. His favorite destinations are exciting ones like the beach or Disneyland, but he’s also happy with the mall, a restaurant, Target…

So, that’s our Peter at five years old. I can’t believe how much he has changed in the past year. He has left behind his chubby-faced toddler days, and is turning into a tall, skinny, rambunctious boy.

Peter at Four Years Old

Peter - Four Years Old

Peter, sweet Peter. How is he already four years old? He started Pre-K in September, and I’m sure he will have a fun year of exploring, singing, learning his letters, and making new friends.

The past year brought some big changes for him, and he took it all in stride. Last fall, Benjamin started half-day kindergarten, which meant Peter didn’t have his favorite playmate with him for four hours of each day. We settled into a new routine of running errands, eating lunch together, or him playing on his own at home while I got some things done. In January, we moved Peter out of the nursery and into a newly transformed “Dodger baseball” room with Benjamin. He and Benjamin took to the change very easily, and it actually made the bedtime routine easier. They fell asleep faster, with the comfort and security of knowing they had a roommate. Then in March, Peter became the middle child, bookended by big brother, Benjamin and new sister, Madeleine. The only change we noticed is that his language reverted a bit. He started mumbling/muttering so that his speech was more difficult to understand. But, thankfully, there was no bed wetting, hostility toward the baby, etc. In fact, he is very sweet toward his little sister. He sings to her, kisses her forehead, entertains her with toys, etc.

Some more thoughts on our Peter at four:

  • Joie de Vivre – This term is the best way I know to describe Peter’s contagious enthusiasm. He has the biggest grin, from ear to ear, his eyes twinkle, and he often jumps up and down or raises his hands in excitement. He reacts this way to anything from going to the park, to eating a favorite snack, to going to Target with me, to finding a cool rock in the yard. I love this boy and his zest for life.
  • Plays independently – When Benjamin is at school or playing computer games, Peter entertains himself most of the time. He is so quiet (like a ninja, we often say), that it’s not uncommon for us to lose track of him around the house. When I finally spot him, he’s absorbed in an activity like reading a book, putting stickers on a piece of paper, trying on shoes, making a fort, etc. I love catching a glimpse of him through the windows when he’s playing outside. He studies the world around him so intently. One day his eyes followed the path of a butterfly as it fluttered across the yard. Another time he was sitting so motionless that I thought he’d fallen asleep. Turns out he was mesmerized by the shadows the tree branches were making on the patio.
  • Sings to himself – More often than not, Peter sings to himself while playing. I have a cute video of him building a block tower while singing “Edelweiss.” Other favorites are “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Let It Go.” Not only does he sing these songs, but he sometimes changes the lyrics. This is a habit he picked up from his mom. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Likes to snuggle – Peter is definitely a cuddle bear. He loves giving and receiving tickles, and he likes to be cozy with us at nap time and bed time. (I usually lay down with him for a few minutes at bed time, and I fit in a power nap with him each afternoon!)
  • Still takes a nap – I can’t emphasize enough how happy I am that both boys continued napping well past age three. Benjamin napped right up until the day he started kindergarten, and I would love for Peter to do the same. Having that middle of the day break works wonders for my sanity, patience, and energy!
  • Favorite foods – His very favorite food is hot dogs. For awhile, everyday at lunch he would request “a hot dog with ketchup and a pickle.” Considering that hot dogs aren’t very good for him, we have cut back on them. His next favorite thing is Lunchables. I suspect this is due to the cookies that the marketing geniuses include in every container, but at least he gets some meat and cheese in the deal. (Trying to cut back on these processed foods as well, but the boys needs to eat something!). And his third favorite thing is special treats. This could refer to cookies, candy, gum, basically anything with sugar as the main ingredient. I’ve learned that the promise of a special treat for good behavior will lead to unwavering obedience. He will sweep up crumbs, stop dilly dallying, or any other reasonable request, if I remind him that his piece of gum is contingent on his cooperation.
  • Becoming self sufficient – Maybe it’s because he’s a middle child, or maybe it’s just his personality, but the boy does a lot of things for himself already. If I lay out his clothes, he will get himself dressed, including his shoes. This is such a big help in the morning. He also gets himself breakfast and snacks (after asking permission, most of the time – he still snoops around on occasion). He is even showering himself now, with just a little help getting soap and shampooing his hair. Such a big boy!
  • Things he is scared of
    • Bees in our yard: he has been stung a few times by stepping on dead bees, so we are always on the lookout for them now. He calls flies or any other winged insect a bee, but that doesn’t keep him from going outside and playing.
    • Old people – This one requires an explanation. His introduction to the concept of “old” was Yoda inย Star Wars. He is disturbed by Yoda’s death scene (if you don’t remember, Yoda disappears when he dies, leaving behind his shriveled cloak). When he asked us why Yoda died, we gave him the simple answer of “because he was very old.” Preschool logic: being old means you are about to die. So now whenever he sees older people, he is afraid they are on the cusp of death. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  It took us a while to figure out why he was scared to be around old people.
    • The scene in Mary Poppins with the old lady feeding the birds. Just realized this must be connected to his fear of old people!
  • Favorite movies/showsPrincess and the Frog has remained a favorite. He also really likes Rescuers Down Under, Winnie the Pooh, and The Care Bears (the tv series and one of the movies – he’s still scared of the first movie with Nicholas the magician). He and Benjamin love watching the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies with Brad. Peter has a few scenes he is scared of, but he is aware of it and will step out of the room during them.
  • Celebrated his birthday at Disneyland – We don’t have annual passes right now, so it was a real treat for all of us to go last month! He is still a few inches too short for the Indiana Jones ride, but he was able to ride Star Tours for the first time, and liked it so much that he rode it twice. We also rode old favorites like Winnie the Pooh, Pinnochio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and the Carousel. We even stayed for the fireworks, and it was clear from the awed expression on his face that he loved them. We spent the night at a hotel that was walking distance from the parks, and the next morning we ate breakfast at Denny’s and drove to Malibu for an afternoon at the beach. On his actual birthday, we gave him his first bike (with training wheels), and his babysitters (our neighbors Kathryn and Christina, and their brother Greg) came over and sang “Happy Birthday” with us and ate cake and gave him Snow White on DVD. Peter had a nice time ushering in his fourth year. We look forward to seeing how he continues to grow and change this year!

More Adventures in Potty Training

Last Sunday at church, I chatted with a mom who was potty training her son. He didn’t look any older than two, and she confidently dropped him off at the nursery, with him wearing underwear instead of diapers. Now, he did poop in his pants while he was there, but she seemed unphased by it. She said that it takes about a week for them to “get it,” and then it’s done.

I had heard other people say this before, but for whatever reason (perhaps his extremely strong will), we had taken the long, bumpy road of pull-ups when it was Benjamin’s turn in potty training land. Because we relied on the convenience of pull-ups instead of the messy business of underwear for a toddler, Benjamin was stuck in “potty training” for over a year. I didn’t care too much at the time, since we were caring for an infant, preparing for a cross country move, and dealing with the truly terrible twos. Once we got settled into our new place in California, and when Benjamin was three years and three months old, I finally put him in underwear, and lo and behold, within three days he was accident free and never looked back!

Fast forward two years, and it is Peter’s turn to make the leap to underwear. He showed an interest in using the potty several months ago, when he was around two, but once the novelty wore off, he lost interest. I went ahead and put him in pull-ups at that time so it would be easier to get him to the potty when he did want to use it. Well for months now, he has still been in pull-ups but never used the toilet.

So getting back to my conversation with the Mom at church – I decided, quite spur of the moment, to give this “all in” technique a shot with Peter, who is now two years and eight months. So Monday morning, when Peter woke up, I told him I was going to put him in underwear. He didn’t resist; in fact, he was excited about picking out some that he liked. I am happy to report that it has gone very well. The most encouraging thing is that he has stayed dry (in a pull-up) at every nap and night time since Monday. He is definitely ready! Let me break it down:

  • Day one – No accidents! He kept his underwear dry all day, even telling the staff at the YMCA when he needed to go.
  • Day two – I started getting nervous, because he had gone 48 hours without pooping. He obviously had some uncertainty about using the potty for that business, but no matter how much encouragement we gave him, there was no luck that morning. The result: he pooped his pants while we were at the park. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  The clean up was so unpleasant that I almost lost my resolve to make him go on the toilet (instead of putting him in a pull-up). That afternoon, I was further tested, when he peed his pants while we were watching Benjamin at karate. In both the park and karate instances, I came prepared with plenty of wipes, a plastic bag, and a change of clothes. We continued to be encouraging, and upped the incentive by offering him ice cream and a visit from his babysitters if he would poop on the potty. I was so disappointed by the two accidents that day (and the boys were behaving something awful), that I left them home with Brad that night and went to the Y to work off some stress. Thankfully, I received a thrilling phone call on my way home, with Benjamin sharing the news that Peter had, indeed, pooped on the potty. Brad related to me that when Peter revealed his success, Benjamin exclaimed,”Peter, you’re a genius!!” He was excited because ice cream for Peter meant ice cream for him, too. We were all so overjoyed over a little poop – it was too funny. I could hardly contain my excitement at the grocery store while I bought the ice cream on my way home. I wanted to explain to everyone that I was buying it because my child had pooped. But I kept the news to myself.
  • Day three – No accidents, but no poop either. So we started to get nervous again…
  • Day four – Peter was still nervous about using the potty for number two, so we continued to sit patiently with him in the bathroom and encourage him. And promised five M&Ms and another visit from his babysitters if he would go again. After the morning was half gone and there was still no success, I decided to stay home instead of taking him to the park. Once I stopped bugging him about going to the bathroom, he actually went back and used the potty all by himself, while I was making some late breakfast. He ran down the hall afterward, shouting “I went poop in the potty!” We were both excited about it, and with that out of the way, we went and had accident-free fun at the park.

And so this is where we are now, on the afternoon of day four. One pee pee and one poopy accident aren’t too bad. I am okay with a few accidents here and there, especially since we no longer live in a house full of carpet (which was one of my main issues with putting Benjamin in underwear back in Dallas). I am looking forward to being diaper free! I’m going out on a limb by publishing this four days in to potty training. Hopefully I’m not speaking too soon to say that Peter is officially potty trained. We shall see…

Based on my experience this week, I would say that potty training does, indeed, work better when you go straight from diapers to underwear, skipping pull-ups. I’d much rather deal with accidents for a week or two than live in limbo for a year. On the other hand, you do have to also wait until your child is mentally and physically ready to give it a shot. If any of you read this are going through potty training, stay strong, and may the force be with you!

Peter at 18 Months

Peter is 18 months old, and ready to take on the world! (but the helmet and bike belong to a friend, he's just testing them out)

Peter is 1 1/2! And he is such a fun boy to have around. He has developed a goofy personality, a healthy appetite, and a daredevil mentality. In this update I’ll try to give some “snapshots” into his daily routine.

  • Height/Weight – He’s still tall and skinny: 32 3/4″ tall (65-70th%), 23 lbs. (15th%), just like his brother has always been
  • Big Brother – Peter loves big brother Benjamin! He follows him around and imitates everything he does. If Benjamin wants to swing at the park, so does he. If Benjamin wants to eat some cheese at lunch, so does he. If Benjamin wants to read a book before nap… You get the idea. When Benjamin is being sweet, this is a nice trend; when Benjamin is being not so nice, well, we are working on that!
  • Books – Peter has recently developed a love for books. I sometimes walk past his room to discover him sitting in the glider “reading” to himself. If I sit down to read one book to the boys, he soon brings me three more. His favorite book, hands down, is “Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb.” It was one of my favorites growing up, so I always have fun reading it to them! Peter hasn’t mastered the annunciation of “dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum,” so as he drums the book with his fingers, he says “ba ba ba ba.” Too cute. Benjamin has a book called “Press Here” that gives the child instructions to manipulate dots on the page (press the yellow dots, shake the book to make the dots line up, blow the red dots off the page…). Peter has watched Benjamin do these tasks so many times that he enjoys helping.
  • Food – The boy loves to eat! The second I mention anything about breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, he darts to his booster seat, climbs up, and puts the tray on. We are amazed that he often eats more food than Benjamin. Some of his favorites: oatmeal, avocado, cheese, smoothies, goldfish, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, and raspberries. I continued giving him the baby food pouches of pureed fruit and veggie combinations until about a month ago. I’ve stopped buying them in bulk, but he still enjoys one as a snack now and then. Meal times are so much easier (if messier!) now that he is eating table food and feeding himself. He is so proud of himself when he successfully delivers a bite to his mouth with a spoon – keeps him entertained for a long time!’

    Gobbling up some homemade red beans and rice

  • Naps – He is almost ready to give up his morning nap. In fact, he only takes it about once or twice a week now (usually because I need to get something done around the house). It’s more convenient for our schedule if he doesn’t take the morning nap, because it gives me time to run an errand and take the boys to the park before lunch. On the days that he doesn’t get the morning nap now, he usually takes a 15 minute cat nap in the car when we are on our way home from somewhere before lunch. In the afternoon, he and Benjamin both still go to sleep around 1:30, and Peter usually sleeps about two hours, sometimes 2 1/2

    Taking a quick nap in the car

  • Bedtime – When I put Peter to bed, I sing him the same “I Love You” lullabye that I sang to Benjamin when he was a baby/toddler. When he’s ready for bed, he will start “singing” the song to me to let me know it’s time. He still goes to sleep very easily, and I’m happy to report that he still sleeps through the night almost all the time. On the rare night that he does wake up, all I have to do now is go in, pick him up, give him a kiss, and cover him back up. Back to sleep he goes – he just wants the reassurance that I’m nearby. He usually sleeps from about 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. now, and sometimes as late as 7:45 a.m.
  • Mischief Maker – Peter isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He’s starting to show glimpses of the dreaded terrible twos. The defiance, the purposeful trouble making, the taking delight in destruction. He received his first real spanking this week after pouring Chloe’s water out on the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time. He knows it’s wrong, but he kept doing it anyway – until the spanking. He hasn’t done it since! At least he stopped snacking on her food. Yuck! He also likes to throw his food on the floor when he gets tired of eating it. He has been known to hit me in the face when I’m taking him away from something he wanted to keep doing. This morning he got his hands on our address stamper, climbed up on my desk, and proceeded to stamp our address onto the keyboard of my laptop. Thankfully it cleaned right off – but I have to keep a close eye on him these days! Despite these examples, he often does listen and obey when I tell him to stop doing something or ask him to help me with something (bring me your shoes, go find your sippy cup, give Benjamin that toy…)

Peter loves hanging out with Benjamin

  • At the park – He loves swinging and sliding, and exploring in general, at the park. He points out balls and dogs, and airplanes flying overhead. He always wants to sit at a picnic table to eat his snack. And he boldly joins in playing with other kids, as long as their toys or games seem fun.]
  • In the yard – He loves to be outside. Sometimes he investigates the plants or picks up rocks. Other times he pushes around his mower or wheelbarrow. We also have a little basketball goal that he likes to play with. Often when I’m making dinner he’ll just wander in and out with various toys and entertain himself. He and Benjamin get along pretty well outside, too.
  • In the house – He likes playing with Play-do, cars, puzzles, books, etc. He could entertain himself with climbing all day – the sofas, the end tables, the dining chairs and table. Sometimes he pulls plastic cups/bowls out of the kitchen drawers and proceeds to stack them up or put them back in the drawer. And I am most amused lately by his washcloth game. He will take one or two washcloths and move them from place to place on the floor, stare at them a few seconds, then move them again. He seems to have some sort of strategy – I don’t know what it is, but sometimes he will do this for 15 minutes at a time! He also loves to dance any time he hears music – he really enjoyed Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show.
  • Vocabulary – Peter understands a lot of what we say, and he’s starting to say more words now. Some words in his daily vocabulary: all done, more, water, milk, shoe, ball, dog, no, book, daddy, mama, really, yeah.

Relaxing on the sofa with a good book!

  • Really/yeah – The “really/yeah” game is one of his most recent goofy things. Usually he does it when I’m dressing him or changing his diaper. He tilts his head to the side when I say something, and he asks,”Really?” (sounds more like reeaary?). Then he babbles, and I say “really?” to him, to which he replies, “yeah, yeah.” I love listening to him babble.

We ate lunch at the mall food court with Brad one day. The boys enjoyed seeing Daddy during the work day!

So that’s a look at my 1 1/2 year old. Stay tuned in a few weeks for a long overdue update on my firstborn, Benjamin, who will be turning four on March 1!

Peter at 15 months old

Where have the last three months gone? We’ve been just a tad busy with buying a house, moving in, unpacking, etc. With the holidays just around the corner, I figured I should squeeze in a few blog posts while I have the time. So, here’s an update on what Peter is up to at 15 months old.

Weight and Height: 21 lbs. 11 oz (15th%), 32 inches (75th%) – Still tall and skinny, just like his big brother! His 15 month check up went well this week. He is meeting developmental milestones and is healthy. I’m especially thankful that the tubes have continued to prevent ear infections.

Vocabulary: Most of Peter’s words are still pretty vague, with many sounding like “uunnh” to those without a discerning ear. Still, he regularly uses the following words: ball, bye, mama, dada, hot, shoe, uh-oh, out. He also uses the baby signs for “all done,” and sometimes “more.” He often communicates by pointing at something he’s interested in and asking, “Uh?”

Nighttime Sleeping Habits: I am beyond thrilled to report that Peter has been consistently sleeping through the night for a few weeks now. Shortly after we moved into our new house, I decided I was ready to stop nursing him when he woke up at night, and let him “cry it out.” The first night was painful, listening to him cry for 50 straight minutes, and later on another 15. But the next couple of nights the amount of time he cried when waking decreased dramatically, and by about the fifth night, he didn’t wake up at all during the night. Needless to say, I am a changed woman now that I am getting uninterrupted sleep on a consistent basis, after months and months and months of being woken up once, twice, or even three times every night by my baby. The short version here is that Peter now sleeps from about 8:15 or 8:30 p.m. – 6:30 or 7 a.m. The time change has thrown him off a bit, but hopefully he will adjust quickly (he’s been waking up around 5:30 or 6 this week.)

Naps: Peter is still taking two solid naps a day. One lasts about 75 to 90 minutes around 9 a.m., and the other is about two hours, coinciding with Benjamin’s afternoon nap, around 1:30. Even though the morning nap limits what we can do in the a.m., I’ll hold on to it as long as I can.

Food: I’m introducing more table foods every day, but I still often give him baby food pouches – it’s just so quick and convenient! Plus, he still gobbles them up. But last night he “mmmmmed” his way through our dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas. The more he likes the taste, the more enthusiastic the “mmmm.” He also likes cheese, broccoli, bread, carrots, strawberries, chicken, etc. I’m now nursing him only about three times a day, breakfast, lunch, and bedtime, but he also drinks cow’s milk.

Playing: He loved to explore our new back yard, whether it’s figuring out how to walk across the stepping stones, pushing his toy lawnmower, or investigating the plants. When inside, one of his current favorite things to do is climbing, which makes me nervous! He climbs on the end tables and jumps onto the sofa in the living room, and he tries to climb on top of the dining table (I usually catch him on his way up). He’ll try standing on just about anything, from an upside down laundry basket, to a wobbly toy. He still enjoys pulling plastic containers out of kitchen cabinets and trying to take things out of the kitchen trash. Thankfully he’s beginning to lose interest in the toilets (yuck!), but still unrolls toilet paper and paper towels when he gets the chance. He likes playing with toys in Benjamin’s room, and playing in his closet and sliding the doors open and shut. He has a blast when we have dance parties in the living room (Benjamin’s current choice is to “rock out” to Bon Jovi.) Peter’s version of dancing involves standing in place and bobbing up and down, swinging his arms from side to side.

Out of the house: After months of crying when I dropped him off at the church nursery, Peter now seems okay with me leaving him there, except when he’s very sleepy. At the park, he still enjoys playing with sand toys and swinging, but he’s also now interested in the slide and climbing the steps. He’s still pretty content to sit in the shopping cart at the store, but he gets antsy after about 30 minutes.

Time with Daddy: Peter has been a mama’s boy for most of his life, but he is starting to really enjoy time with Brad, too. He loves snuggling with him after bath time, sitting in his lap to watch tv, and getting tickled by him.

So there’s a snap shot of Peter at 15 months. He was a monkey for Halloween, so I’ll leave you with a few pictures from that night, as well as a couple of other recent shots.

Peter at One Year Old

Peter turned one on August 4! We celebrated his birthday a few days early while my parents were still in town. We kept things simple: sang “Happy Birthday,” let Benjamin blow out the candle, ate cake and ice cream, and opened a few gifts. Instead of making a cake, I bought a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing from Walmart, and it was delicious! Peter liked it, too, as you’ll see in the pictures below. His birthday gifts included several clothing items (he’ll be a well dressed baby this fall!), a fridge farm magnet set (the one that has been a hit at Mama C’s house with all the grandkids), a shape sorter, and a couple of books.

Here’s a glimpse of Peter at one year:

  • Weight – 19 lbs. 12 oz. (10th%) – Peter is following in his brother’s footsteps by being a “light weight,” but he is still bigger than Benjamin was at one year (18 lbs.)
  • Height – 32″ (96th%) – He’s certainly a tall boy! However, I’m suspicious that the measurement may have been a bit high, since Peter was quite squirmy when they did it. Benjamin was 29″ tall at one year.

Walking:

  • The most exciting development is that Peter is now walking! I witnessed his first steps on the evening of Friday, July 29. I was talking to my mom in the kitchen (it was during my parents’ visit), when I suddenly noticed Peter taking steps toward the trash can. (We now have to keep the trash can out of his reach because he loves trying to get into it!)
  • For the first several days he would only take three steps at a time before going into his “monkey” walk (on feet and hands with bottom in the air) or crawling. But over the past week he has taken off, so to speak. Walking is now his preferred mobility method, and he’s had practice on various surfaces (grass, sidewalks, carpet, tile, sand, etc.)

Talking:

  • Not much to report on the talking front. I guess he says “mama,” “dada,” and “bye,” but he doesn’t really have other words yet. He does imitate us occasionally, and so I’ve heard him say “uh oh.” We are doing a tiny bit of signing with him, but so far the only one he uses is “all done” (waving his hands back and forth when he finishes eating).
  • He understands a lot of what we say. When I ask him to hand me an object that he’s holding, he holds it up to me. When I ask where Chloe or Benjamin is, he looks around for them.

Eating:

  • I’m still nursing Peter, but trying to cut out some of his “snack” feedings and replacing them with food snacks. Also, since his waking during the night has been such an issue (most likely because of teething), I’ve continued to nurse him back to sleep out of convenience (and because we are living in an apartment with neighbors who I don’t want to disturb with a baby who is “crying it out”). Hopefully we’ll be moving into a house next month and I can go cold turkey on the night time feedings.ย 
  • As part of my effort to gradually wean him, I’ve started giving him food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus a morning and afternoon snack. He is still eating mostly baby food, but I found our food mill in the back of the pantry, so we will start offering him some milled table food as well, until he grows more accustomed to chewing. His newest food experience has been smoothies. Benjamin and I often share these for lunch, but now I mix some with rice cereal so I can spoon feed it to Peter. This is the best way I’ve found to get him to eat all sorts of healthy foods, including spinach, avocado, strawberries, bananas, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • He has taken to cold milk very easily. I offer him a sippy cup at meal times, and he takes several big gulps of it. When we reached this phase with Benjamin, I had to actually heat the milk and give it to him in a bottle for him to even consider taking any of it.

Sleeping:

  • I should be so sleep deprived right now, but somehow I have survived Peter’s chronic night time wakings. Several nights ago he was awake something like six times, which means I was waking up about once an hour through most of the night. Most nights it’s once or twice that he wakes up, and then he wakes up in the morning between 6 and 6:30. I know, most of you are thinking that it’s time for me to sleep train this child! You are right, but our living situation isn’t conducive to that right now, so I’m going to endure it for another month or so until we move into a house.
  • Other than his night time wakings, Peter sleeps from about 8:30 or 9 p.m., until 6 or 6:30 a.m.
  • He still takes a morning (8:30-1oish) and afternoon (1:30-3:30ish) nap, and his afternoon nap still coincides with Benjamin’s. I am so thankful to have two good nappers!

Playing:

  • Peter continues to play well on his own. He wanders off to the toy basket in the hall, or to Benjamin’s room, and entertains himself for awhile. Favorite toys right now are any objects good for carrying around in his hand while he practices walking (a toy screwdriver, a small stuffed animal, a toothbrush…), or any groups of items he can take out of a drawer (bowls, sippy cups, lids…) and sometimes (if I’m lucky) put back in.
  • Now that Peter is walking, Benjamin sees him as more of a playmate. This has been a fun, sweet development. They ride around the apartment on the little sit and ride cars, and Benjamin comes up with imaginative things for them to do (go camping [under the table], hide from a bandit [under the bunk bed], etc.). Peter probably doesn’t know what game he is playing, but he just seems thrilled that his big brother is paying attention to him and not hitting him or knocking him down (this still happens sometimes).
  • He’s no longer content to sit in the stroller and watch when we go to the park. I take him out and let him explore, but always under my watchful eye, since he still tries to put anything and everything in his mouth.

That’s all I can think of right now. Here are some recent pictures of our little Peter bear. We love him so much and are having so much fun with him!

Peter at Eleven Months Old

Peter at eleven months old

A sweet, curious, and very busy boy: that’s what Peter is at eleven months old. He hit a growth spurt over the last few weeks and is suddenly chubby again, and just tall enough to get into all new kinds of trouble. He becomes more mobile every day. It’s not uncommon now to turn around and see him standing up in the middle of a room, without any furniture to hold on to. He can also crawl from one end of the apartment to the other at lightning speed! Here’s a look at what his daily routine and personality are like these days:

Favorite Activities:

  • Saying “ah” – He’s not really saying words yet, except for the occasional “ma ma” or “da da,” but he often expresses his opinion by uttering “ah” in a variety of intensities, lengths, and volume. It’s amazing that one little sound can have so many meanings!
  • Opening the kitchen drawers that contain the sippy cups and kids’ dishes, and pulling them all out one by one, scattering them around the kitchen floor. I have to watch my step, but I’m just glad that he stays entertained this way while I’m washing dishes or cooking a meal.
  • Standing up from a seated position, without pulling up on anything for support – we have been very impressed by this demonstration of strength and balance! He is usually holding a toy when he does this. He can also stand in place for several seconds before falling or sitting down. No hands free steps yet, but he’s getting close!
  • Wandering off to his or Benjamin’s room to play with toys by himself – He especially enjoys digging through the toy box in Benjamin’s room. They must seem much cooler than all the baby toys in his room. Benjamin also has an alligator mirror from IKEA that is a soft, cloth lined, full length mirror. Almost every time Peter goes in the room, he knocks this over, sits on it, and makes funny faces at himself. So cute to watch! He also likes to climb up on Benjamin’s bed (which is just above floor level) and rub his face on the soft sheets, and to grab Benjamin’s sound machine off the night stand and turn it on. He is a busy, smart baby. I’m happy that he can entertain himself so well!
  • “Dancing” to music – It doesn’t matter if it’s on Benjamin’s CD player, on a commercial, or on a movie. He’ll dance to anything with a beat! Benjamin was watching The Prince of Egypt a couple of days ago, and Peter danced his way through the opening song (“Deliver Us”), and when it was over, he reached his arms up in the air very dramatically, and applauded enthusiastically. It’s nice to know that he appreciates good music!
  • Crawling around with a small toy or sock in his mouth (must be related to teething)
  • Waving “hello” to the wall lamps in our apartment building (he doesn’t wave to people, only the lights – I’m not sure he knows what waving means – either that, or he knows something about the lights that we don’t!)

Naps and Night Time:

  • He now takes a predictable morning and afternoon nap. I usually wake him up from the morning nap after an hour and a half, so that I can run some errands with the boys before lunch. Also, I believe that he takes a longer afternoon nap if I don’t let him sleep too long in the morning, which then allows me to have a longer break while both boys take their afternoon nap (usually two hours or even more!).
  • His morning nap starts between 8:30 and 9:00, his afternoon nap between 1:00 and 2:00. He is always ready for his nap. After I sing him a quick song, I lay him down in his crib and cover him up, and he usually falls asleep immediately. Occasionally he talks to himself for a few minutes, but he rarely cries about nap time any more.
  • He goes to bed at night between 8:30 and 9. Again, he’s always exhausted and ready for sleep, so it’s an easy process. He still wakes up at least a few times a week during the night. I think that lately he’s actually been hungry during the night because of his growth spurt, so I’ve been happy to nurse him. And I am only awake with him for 10 or 15 minutes, so it’s not too disruptive to my sleep. He wakes up in the morning between 6 and 7. He’s a much earlier riser than Benjamin was at this age. (Benjamin slept until after 8:00 for the first two years of his life!)

Meals:

  • I intended to start giving Peter breakfast every morning about a month ago, but it doesn’t happen every day. In fact, most days he doesn’t have any “food” until I give him a mid morning snack of yogurt or cereal, but he seems satisfied by his morning feeding of mama’s milk. He usually has a fruit and a vegetable baby food for lunch, and then cereal with a baby food dinner (a meat/veggie/sometimes fruit combo) at night. Sometimes he also has an afternoon snack. I know he needs one if he gets fussy around 4:00. He still isn’t a fan of textured foods. I’ve kept trying mashed up avocado and banana, but after lots of gagging I usually give up. He does like Cheerios and puffs, though.
  • I had my first success with homemade baby food this week. I mixed up a batch of cooked carrots, added some water, and pureed them in the blender, and they were so creamy and delicious that I snuck a few bites! Next up I want to try sweet potatoes and maybe peas.
  • After a few months of refusing to drink formula or breast milk from a bottle, I’m happy to report that Peter has decided it’s okay again. We eased him back into the idea by giving him a baby bottle of water at meal time in his high chair. Over a period of a few weeks, he got comfortable sipping the water, so the next time I was gone, he decided to drink the bottle of formula that Brad offered him. Hooray! I can now feel free to leave the house for longer than three hours at a time, and not have to rush home to put him to bed myself. He was starting to become quite the mama’s boy, so I’m glad that we’re getting away from that mindset now.

He's proud (and surprised) that he can now sit on the little bench on our balcony.

Odds and Ends:

  • He has some more new teeth, but I have lost count. All I know is that he’s been drooling like crazy, chewing toys, and has a toothy grin.
  • His poop schedule has normalized. For about six weeks he was having lots and lots and lots of poops. We were going through diapers like crazy! Now he just has one or two dirty diapers a day. I think it was a virus that took forever to go away. The probiotics we gave him for awhile seemed to help, but it was really just a “let it run its course” thing.
  • He developed the ability to walk with a push toy this week. He was very proud!
  • His hair is getting curly and thicker. It’s fun to have two curly headed boys!
  • He experienced two firsts recently: a swimming pool and fireworks. He was skeptical about the pool at first, but once he figured out that it felt nice and that he was safe in my arms, he giggled and splashed his hands in the water and had a great time. He also was impressed and inspired by Valencia’s 4th of July fireworks show. He laughed, clapped, and reached his hands up in the sky as if trying to grab them. This is quite different from when I was child: I screamed and cried in the car during one fireworks show, and my dad had to carry me on his shoulders and run for the exits at Disney World to avoid me melting down when the nightly fireworks extravaganza started!
  • He has shown his first interest in books. I’ve read him a few board books, and he laughs his way through them and touches the pictures.

Pausing for a brief moment before continuing on his near constant path of exploration and discovery!

Peter at Ten Months Old

Peter at ten months old

Peter hit the ten month mark last weekend, while we were busy unpacking boxes at our new apartment. During the past month, his 6th and 7th teeth appeared (he has four on top, three on bottom). The biggest change for him lately is that he is now pulling up on everything, and starting to cruise around a bit. His cousin Braylen taught him these skills when we were staying at Cara’s house Memorial Day weekend. So now he easily entertains himself by crawling from room to room, playing with whatever he can find, and pulling up on anything above floor level.

Our apartment has a nice balcony area, and we bought an outdoor rug to make it more baby friendly. Since the weather has been so nice (mid 50s to mid 70s!), we’ve been leaving the patio door open, and Peter can crawl in and out to play with his toys.

He has a mischievous streak that comes out whenever I am telling him not to do something. When I say, “Peter, no sir,” he grins at me and shakes his head “no.” It’s very cute, but at least he sometimes actually listens to me. Right now the biggest no no for him is messing with our sound system buttons.

He seems to have a virus right now – low grade fever and a rash – maybe roseola. He’s been a bit fussy, but otherwise is doing well. His sleep schedule shifted around because of the time change, and it hasn’t quite shifted back yet. Some mornings he tries to wake up at 5:30, but most days he sleeps until between 6:30 and 7. He takes a 1 1/2 hour morning nap around 9, and a 2 to 3 hour afternoon nap around 1:30. He’s ready for bed between 8:30 and 9.

He is still eating well. I nurse him every 3 or 4 hours, and he enjoys sweet potato puffs, rice cereal, and baby food fruits and veggies. He enjoys mashed up banana and avocado, and I hope to introduce more homemade pureed food and table food soon.

I haven’t had his weight checked in awhile, but he’s definitely slimming up from his increased activity with crawling and pulling up.

Peter is still a mama’s boy, and he’s suspicious of strangers. Even when he likes someone new, he plays shy and puts his head down on our shoulder. And it is clear that he loves his big brother. No matter how many times Benjamin hits or pinches him ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  Peter continues to follow him around and study his every move.

Reading a book with Grandad and Benjamin

Peter at Nine Months Old

Nine months old

Our baby boy is now nine months old! Over the past month while we’ve been busy house hunting in California and moving out of our Dallas home, he has hit some fun and exciting milestones.

  • Crawling – While he had been doing the backwards crawling thing for about a month, on April 28 he officially crawled forward for the first time – his motivation being the cord for my MacBook. Now, two weeks later, he is maneuvering anywhere he wants to go. He loves to follow his brother or cousins around, and to check out toys, furniture, or anything else interesting that crosses his path. He is so cute to watch. If he knows he is headed for something “off limits” and you call him out on it, he starts giggling and crawling faster to get to it before you stop him. But then, he’ll stop, sit up, and look over at you to see if he still has your attention. When he realized he does have your attention, he shakes his little torso in sweet defiance, as if to say, “Just you try to stop me!” (It’s funny how this attitude is cute in a baby, but infuriating in a toddler/preschooler…)
  • Eating – My initial plan was to introduce textured food early on, but we took a long break when our initial offerings of banana and avocado were met with resistance (read: gagging and throwing up). I’m happy to report that Peter now seems to like textured food, including banana, avocado, and sweet potato puffs. The puffs are a good form of entertainment when I am cooking dinner or trying to get something else done – it takes him a long time to get each one into his mouth! He continues to enjoy any and all jarred baby foods.
  • Sleeping – Despite some recent night time wakings, overall Peter is sleeping very well since he had tubes put in his ears. He takes two naps a day – usually about 1 1/2 hours in the morning, and 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the afternoon. The second nap coincides with Benjamin’s, which makes me very happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I used to often resort to nursing him to sleep, but now I usually just sing to him, then put him in bed awake, and he cries (more like complains) himself to sleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Although he no longer takes an official third nap, if I run any errands in the evening, he will take a 30 or 45 minute nap in his car seat. If he doesn’t get this cat nap, he is really fussy by bedtime, which is usually around 9:00. He is ready to start his day between 6 and 7 a.m., but if he wakes up before 6:30, I usually put him right back to bed after I feed him, and he may sleep until 7:30.
  • Communication/Language – Peter shows signs that he understands a lot of what we say. He “performs” certain tasks by request, including “clap,” “dance,” “splash,” and “pat.” We usually say these words three times in a row to encourage an enthusiastic response: “dance! dance! dance!” If I ask him where Chloe (our cat) is, he will start looking around for her. More than words, though, he is very good at interpreting tone of voice. He knows when I am being stern (like when I let him know that it’s not okay to pinch or scratch my arm), playful, or soothing. His dancing is very cute. When Benjamin plays songs on his CD, or when he hears a song on tv, Peter starts swaying back and forth or bouncing up and down. He loves dancing!
  • Health – Peter has been ear infection free since having his surgery at the end of March. What a wonderful new world it is for him and the rest of us! He is happy, easy going, and sleeps well. Unfortunately, we are currently dealing with a prolonged bout of yucky poops. He is on day nine of these abnormal and frequent dirty diapers. It has caused him to lose some weight and have a recurring diaper rash, and we are going through diapers like crazy! But he is still eating, sleeping, and playing well, so he doesn’t really seem to be sick. He had his nine month check up last week, and his pediatrician sent a stool sample out for lab analysis. We should find out this week if there’s any explanation for his digestive issues.
  • Weight and Height – As I just mentioned, Peter’s current issues have made him lose some weight, so his nine month weigh-in of 17 lbs. 15 oz. probably isn’t fully accurate. It places him in the 10-25th%. His height is 28 5/8″, which is 50-75th% . Benjamin weighed 16 lbs. 5 oz. at nine months, and was in the 3rd%.

So that’s Peter at nine months old. The next few months will be full of change for all of us, and despite our cross country move and adjusting to a totally new place, I don’t want to miss any of his big or small milestones.

Peter at Eight Months Old

Eight months old

Peter celebrated his eight month mark in his soon to be new home, California. He joined me and Brad on our house hunting trip last week, and he did great flying for the first time. Here is what else he’s been up to for the past month:

  • Getting tubes – Peter’s biggest news this month is that he finally found some relief from his chronic ear infections! We were happy to have this procedure done (despite the hefty co-insurance deductible), since the alternative was to continue a string of ineffective antibiotics and endure many more nights with sleep disruptions. I took him to an outpatient surgery center on March 31, and I barely had time to drink some coffee and eat a granola bar before they came to tell me the surgery was finished (it was 10 or 15 minutes). A few minutes later they took me to see Peter in a recovery room, and he was grumpy and crying – no doubt disoriented by the anesthesia and unfamiliar surroundings. He sniffled on the way home, too, but as soon as we got home and Brad picked him up, he fell asleep on Daddy’s shoulder – relieved to finally be home. After a nearly three hour nap, he woke up refreshed and has been a new baby ever since. While he’s still waking up some during the night, he is much more content during the day, naps easily, and seems more aware of sounds around him. And the procedure was just in time for Peter’s first flight!
  • Flying to California – Peter was a perfect example of how a baby should act on a flight. I was a little worried about our flight there, because it didn’t leave Dallas until 7:45 p.m. But he did great. I nursed him on take-off, and he basically slept the whole flight! Our flight home was at 11 a.m., and while he did sleep about half the time, the other half he played happily, clapped his hands, looked around, and entertained the grandmotherly type who was sitting next to us. It was nice to have a test run with Peter while Benjamin stayed in Dallas with my dad (we were so grateful to have his help, along with my sister and a friend). Now I’ll have a better idea of how to handle both of them on a flight. But I’m still not brave enough to fly by myself with two just yet!
  • Sleeping – If I was expecting a miraculous overnight transformation of Peter’s sleep patterns after he got his tubes, I didn’t get it. Instead, it has taken several days for him to return to a reasonable night time sleep schedule. Part of the problem is that we took him out of his routine when we entered the Pacific Time Zone for five days. (Our nights at the Embassy Suites represented sleep deprivation at its worst – Peter woke up frequently, ended up sleeping in our bed with us every night when I was too exhausted to keep getting up with him, and tried to wake up at 4:45 every morning!) I’m happy to report that I didn’t have to go in his room last night. That’s not to say he didn’t wake up any – he cried a bit before I went to bed, and then again in the middle of the night, but both times he went back to sleep on his own – something that never happened when his ears were hurting.
  • Napping – Benjamin’s nap schedule was always very predictable, so it’s funny to me that Peter’s is so the opposite. Some days Peter gets two solid naps in his crib, but the norm is for him to get an afternoon nap in his crib, and catch a couple of power naps in his car seat while we run errands in the morning and before dinner. But as I said earlier, he has been napping for longer stretches since getting his tubes. This morning he slept two+ hours, and right now he is approaching the 1 1/2 hour mark for his afternoon nap. I am certainly a fan of ear-infection free Peter! I think Peter’s new normal will be two 1 1/2 to two hour naps (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). He never takes a third nap in his crib now, but if he doesn’t nap long enough earlier in the day, he will fall asleep while we’re out and about in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Eating – He is still a great eater. He hasn’t met a jarred baby food that he doesn’t like, as long as it isn’t the Stage 3 kind that has “texture.” (I accidentally bought that kind in California, and ended up dealing with some major spit-up.) I am hoping he’ll warm up to the idea of mashed avocado or banana, and less pureed homemade baby food soon. As for nursing, he is able to go four hours between day time feedings now, but I sometimes nurse him more frequently in the evening out of convenience, because it helps him settle down if he’s fussy/grumpy. As for during the night, since he is capable of going ten or eleven hours between feedings, I am going to try to break him of the habit of nursing to go back to sleep when he does wake up during the night. Easier said than done, so we’ll see how it goes…
  • Playing – He is still loving his exersaucer, but he also enjoys sitting on the floor or laying on his belly while playing with toys. His current favorite seems to be his stacking cups, but he loves anything that makes noise. He gets very excited any time he spots Chloe, and even more so when we let him pet her. So far, she doesn’t run away from him.For now, I’m still putting a quilt down on the floor when he plays, but since he has learned to maneuver his way onto the carpet (see “backwards crawling” below), I should pack the blankets up soon.
  • Learning – He started clapping his hands this month, and as far as I know “clap, clap, clap” is the first phrase that he understands and responds to. He claps when we ask him to, but also when he’s happy (and since he’s such a contented baby these days, he claps a lot!). He is becoming very dexterous, to the point that he likes to grab my skin and pinch, which hurts! I hope he grows tired of this habit soon.
  • Backwards crawling – Full mobility is just around the corner for us. While we were in California, he perfected the art of crawling backwards. He has yet to crawl forward, but he gains access to pretty much whatever he sets his mind to by putting his little arms and legs in reverse and scooting across the room. Time to re-baby proof the house, but I have a feeling I’ll be much more relaxed about it this time. Our potential new house has stairs, so I think we’ll be investing in a new baby gate. I’m trying to keep the video camera charged and nearby, because I have a feeling he will be a full-fledged crawler any day now!

As for personality, Peter is a happy, easy going, curious baby who is mesmerized by every detail of the world around him. I had fun taking him and Benjamin to the park yesterday for a photo session in the bluebonnets. Peter loved sitting amidst the flowers and grass, feeling the breeze on his face, and watching his brother run around. They get along better every day now – Benjamin is becoming a sweet, helpful big brother who wants to protect and entertain his little brother. We are in for some fun times ahead!

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