Alex is 11 Months Old!!

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not in focus, but I love his smile here

not in focus, but I love his smile here

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Mommy's little helper.

Mommy’s little helper.

I’m already trying to prepare myself for the fact that my baby is almost one.  You know it will happen one day, but when he’s a newborn it feels like an event far in the distant future.  Then suddenly it’s about to happen and- WOAH- it feels so crazy!  It’s to the point now where I’m remembering what I was doing at this time last year (apparently I was freaking out!).  My life is totally different now.  Last year I was saying “Hey, next month we’re having baby!” and planning a home birth.  This year I’m saying “Hey, Alex is going to be one!” and planning a birthday party.

Anywho, Alex seems more like a little boy than a baby these days.  Let me see if I can try to fill you in on all that’s been happening.  It’s so frustrating to do these posts because I feel like I can NEVER really paint an accurate picture of Alex and I ALWAYS forget important things.  Oh, well, at least I try.  I KNOW I’ll love to look back on these one day!

Growing and Developing:

Alex is on the move and he’s always rushing here and there getting into this, getting into that.  Either that or he’s clinging to my leg wanting me to pick him up so he can see what I’m doing on the counter, stove, or desk.  Or he just wants to be held.  Alex went through some MAJOR separation anxiety this month (and last month) and he’ll cry and cry if he sees Daddy (especially) or Mommy and doesn’t get to go to them.  He is very obvious now when he wants to go to a certain person, and he’s actually cried a few times when being held by strangers.  We’re trying to be there for him as much as we can to reassure him and help him feel secure.  It seems to be working.

Alex took his first steps around 10.5 months!  3 steps from his Daddy to me.  BUT this doesn’t mean he’s walking yet.  In fact, he really doesn’t give a rip about walking at all since he can crawl much more quickly.  He does, however, love to play the “walking game”.  That’s when Mommy and Daddy sit on the living room floor and say “go to Daddy” or “go to Mommy” and then he crosses the distance in a few steps.  He also doesn’t mind it when I walk him around the house holding one or both of his hands.  I think he does really really well with it and that as soon as he finds motivation, he’ll be walking right away.  He’s great standing, walking along furniture, and stuff like that.

Alex CAN say “mama” and “dada”.  I’m not completely sure whether he understands that those are our names, but he does sometimes seem to use them in the correct context.  Again, it feels like he’s taking his time.  I am pushing him to begin signing.  I’ve been working on “eat”, “milkies”, and “more”.  He can and does make those signs, but I almost always have to prompt him.

Alex is doing some mimicking.  It’s often rudimentary, but if you look for it it’s there.  He’ll clap his hands, he’s done arms up a few times, and he does try to copy other sounds and motions (the meowing of the cat, pounding on a box, driving a toy car, using his toy tools).  Nothing is cuter.  NOTHING!  🙂

At this age, I just love to watch little grown up mannerisms develop: the way he’ll turn his head to try to look me in the eye during breakfast, the way he turns my face to the side so he can examine my mole (he just recently discovered it and is fascinated with it), the way the most random things will make him laugh and laugh, and the way he acts all groggy in the morning when he’s still half-asleep.  He couldn’t be cuter, and if he’d sit still long enough I’d just kiss his chubby little cheeks all day long.

Alex’s molars are slowly working their way in.  Usually he’s fine- he just chews on his fingers and drools more than usual.  The other night, though, was TERRIBLE.  We were all awake from 8pm-3am, and Alex was crying during most of that time.  For an hour or two he was actually inconsolable and couldn’t handle anything in his mouth- not even his duda- and he wouldn’t nurse.  We’d tried everything we had from a cold washcloth to a second amber necklace around Alex’s ankle.  We were contemplating running to the store to get teething tabs or something, but then almost abruptly he began to feel better, started smiling at us, nursed, and went back to sleep.  We were all exhausted the next day.  The next night was a little bit tough, but after that things have been peachy and Alex has actually been sleeping really well and doesn’t seem in pain at all.

Alex can go up and down stairs like a champ. We are just now putting in baby gates, and it’s a good thing because Alex has terrified me a few times by getting to the top of the stairs and starting to go down lickety-split before I get there to go down in front of him!  He has no idea there’s a danger!

Alex loves loves loves to give us things.  He loves to hand clothes to Mommy to fold or hang in the closet, he loves to put food in Daddy’s mouth, and he loves to hand his toys to Mommy or Daddy to see how they play with them or just to here them say thank you and then take them back.  I try to model good manners for him.  🙂

So not in focus, but I had to include it.  His mischievousness with the toilet paper when he thought Mommy wasn't looking....

So not in focus, but I had to include it. His mischievousness with the toilet paper when he thought Mommy wasn’t looking….

Eating:

Alex is eating 3 meals a day.  This kid loves his food.  There isn’t much he isn’t eating now, except for the things that are still choking hazards for little kids like nuts and raw carrots.  We are waiting until after his first birthday to give him honey, and we don’t give him things that seem really spicy.  He still is crazy about fruit, but he’s really gotten into vegetables as well.  He also LOVES bread.  He’ll pick the raisins out of his raisin bread sometimes, which just cracks me up. Alex likes to eat some stuff that you wouldn’t expect kids to like such as prunes and spinach.  I honestly can’t thing of a single food Alex hates.  He hasn’t liked avocados much lately, though, which is strange since he used to love them.  I’m blaming it all on his avocado-hating Auntie…..  but even those he’ll still eat sometimes.

Alex doesn’t chew his food well.  I know because it often shows up in his diaper in the same form as when it entered his mouth. I’m still trying to figure out how age-appropriate this is.

Sleeping:

Still not sleeping through the night.  Nope.  That’s ok, though.  It’ll happen.  Sometimes, like when he’s sick or teething and wakes up extra often, it feels really rough.  Usually, though, it’s ok and I feel rested enough.  As long as I take a nap every day.

Speaking of naps.  Alex just dropped his second nap a couple of weeks ago.  I think it might have been a little overdue since it had become a huge struggle to get him to sleep.  I mean, it was taking 30 minutes to an hour for him to go to sleep for naps and bedtime- and this was with nursing, walking, singing, bouncing. All the tricks.  Now he wakes up between 7 and 8 am, naps around noon for usually 90 minutes, and goes to bed between 7 and 8 pm.  Yes, he is finally going to be earlier!!!  It’s wonderful to actually have some adult time in the evenings.  Maybe I’ll even blog more.  It also usually only takes him less than 10 peaceful minutes to fall asleep and it is AWESOME!  It had gotten really really tiring to bounce and heavy baby for 30 minutes 3 times a day.  I can do 10 minutes no problem.  I don’t mind that at all.

Alex still sleeps with us.  We like it that way, and I know I’m not ready for him to sleep away from us yet.  We did move his crib into our room and “side-car” it to our bed.  This gave us so much more sleeping room!  It was like getting a bigger bed without spending any money.  The co-sleeper, which is what we did have by our bed, had that drop down and just didn’t work well for us.  It’s in the nursery now serving as a play pen in case we need to stick Alex in there while we, say, empty his potty chair.

Elimination Communication:

We are still doing this part time. We mostly just put Alex on the potty when we change his diaper and if we notice that he needs to poop.  We catch almost all of his poops on the potty, which is really nice.  He usually goes first thing in the morning unless something throws his system off.

Breastfeeding:

I’m so excited that Alex’s birthday will also be our one year nursiversary.  It’s quite a milestone for us, especially considering the rough start we had.  I hope to have a big breastfeeding post I’ve had sitting in drafts for months now ready by next month.  A lot of babies and mommas, even those for whom breastfeeding happened easily, don’t make it to a year or beyond.  Some choose to wean beforehand, of course, but I still feel really blessed that I’ve been able to give Alex the benefits of breast milk for this long and that there is nothing to stop us from continuing.  I plan to keep breastfeeding until we reach a natural weaning point.  My original goal was 18 months, and lately I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it would be to reach 2 years.  I’d be ecstatic if I could breastfeed Alex that long.  The only thing I could see interfering with that would be pregnancy, so it’s very important to me that I don’t get pregnant yet.

I won’t lie.  Sometimes I’m sick of nursing and look forward to it ending.  I think that was mostly when we were still trying to get in two naps and day and Alex was spending tons of time pinching my nipples as he tried in vain to go to sleep.  I also get really irritable about breastfeeding right before my period.  Most of the time, though, I love it.  Alex is so cuddly and cute when he nurses, and it’s such an easy way to help him get back to sleep at night or to comfort him when he’s cranky.

Alex still nurses 8-10 times in a 24 hour period.  Usually at least 6 times during the day and 2-4 times during the night.  Last night I only woke up ONCE to nurse him (the other time was before I’d gone to bed), so that was like a rare treat.

Big Events:

The big thing this month was that Alex was the Bible Boy in his Auntie and Uncle’s wedding!  He rode in a wagon up the aisle and did a perfect job, a little smile on his face the entire way!  Unfortunately we didn’t get many pictures because I was in the wedding party so my husband was busy with Alex and unable to handle the camera much at the same time.  We have a few.  I think he was so adorable in his little tux!

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I nabbed a couple of photos that the wedding photographer posted on Facebook:

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