Monday, August 30, 2010

Gabe stats

Length: 22 1/4 inches = 25th percentile
Weight: 12 lbs. 8 oz = 75th percentile

His happy smile is the best thing ever!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gabriel update

Two firsts today, at 7 weeks: 1) a real laugh! A wonderful little chuckle while looking up into my eyes, and 2) first visit to the chiropractor. Afterwards he slept and slept.

Monday, August 23, 2010


A couple things I forgot to include about Valerie:
  • While she's doing her twirling/dancing/running/stomping thing, she admires her own performance with a frequent "Wow!" She must hear us say it a lot... (actually she says "Vow!" It's pretty cute)
  • She is still also enamored of the alphabet, and will recite to herself at random moments. She skips a few letters, but she's also learning the sounds they make as well as their names.
  • It's been really fun lately seeing her expand her playground horizons, going down the big slide by herself, getting on and off the little horsies by herself, etc. It's fun just watching her have fun.
  • We went to the County Fair one morning last week and caught some of the visiting circus - which included a GIRAFFE! It was extremely cool. Valerie: "Aff! Aff! AffEEEE!" She got to feed him a carrot. She also thoroughly enjoyed seeing baby ducks and all kinds of other farm animals.
This past weekend we traveled to Lancaster for a Leaman family reunion, and the previous weekend we went camping (!!!). Both trips went well overall, although we learned that V does a lot better if she's not right next to her brother. We see these as sort of trial runs for the big move coming up in... less than a month!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

the Fam

Stealing a Minute

I'm stealing a minute from my own work time to write a quick Valerie post. She's at Grammy's right now, and Terry took Gabriel with him (after a ridiculous cluster-feed, every hour from 7 - 10 a.m. Seriously - he's now 10 lbs 14 oz, having gained another 13 oz in a week, can he really be that hungry??? Apparently, yes!!)

So, Valerie. She is growing so much. She loves to move and dance and tumble - she's mastered the somersault, and loves to run and jump and dance just for the fun of it. I love her delighted grin when we play "chase" around the house.

She's still not really talking, although her vocabulary continues to grow (she only rarely combines words into phrases). But she's really, really into numbers. She knows all the numbers up to 10, and *tries* to count to twenty ("free-free, four-four, five-five, six-six... ten-ten!") She has trouble pronouncing seven ("eppie" or "sefee") and one ("wu" or "mm") but the rest are pretty clear. She counts steps, toys, bottles in the bathroom, and so on. She can also count backwards from five down!

She's still a bit stressed out by Gabriel, and her new coping mechanism is to bang her head - well, her mouth, really - against our shoulders. This really is hard to deal with. And now she shrieks not only when she hears him make a noise (although not all the time), but when other children get within 4 or 5 feet of her. This makes playground visits a little less fun.

After several months of sleeping through the night, she started night waking again in the week after my parents left. I don't really anticipate this getting better until, oh... maybe 2011?

She's becoming a bit more picky about foods but has a new love - KETCHUP!! Anything dipped in ketchup (even grapes - ugh!) is automatically better. Definitely a Jantzi.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Quick while he naps

Saturday Gabriel - or Gici, as we call him here - it means Piglet in Albanian - was one month old, and I meant like crazy to write a nice blog post about him but, well, it's been a little hectic around here.

He's been gaining A POUND A WEEK. Fat rolls have developed around his thighs, his wrists are creased and his hands dimpled. He's about to bust out of his newborn-sized onesies. He feels like a huge chunk of baby in my arms so it always takes me by surprise when people see him for the first time and say "look, how tiny!"

Our main saga this first month of life with Gabriel - apart from Valerie's angst - has been his gassiness. About 10 days ago it got to the point where I feared he had acid reflux, and we took him to the doctor, who said no, with that kind of weight gain it was more likely overfeeding. He was nursing every hour or hour and a half round the clock - ok, maybe 2 hours at night - and spitting up after every feeding and often in between.

I'd always heard that you can't overfeed a breastfed baby, so this was surprising to me, but we followed the recommendation to use a pacifier to space his feedings slowly further and further apart with the goal of 3 hours apart in the day and 4 hours apart in the night. And it worked, as far as the spit-up goes. For a good 12 hours after our visit to the doctor he was even fairly gas-free. But the gassiness started up again in the form of grunting and fussing every time I laid him down to sleep. I knew from our first peds appt. that he swallows a lot of air when he nurses - very noisy eater, lots of clicks and whistles - so I was just working on burping him as much as possible, and we also started using gas drops to try to get the burps out better.

So Thursday I went to an "ask-a-nurse" group for new mothers; the nurse there is a lactation consultant as well and very knowledgable. It was GREAT - I can't wait for the next one. :-) As an LC, of course she said "you can't overfeed a breastfed baby," and instead confirmed what I'd been reading online - that the problem was an oversupply of milk. He wanted to eat constantly because he was only getting the thin sweet foremilk and not enough of the richer hindmilk. She recommended pumping off the excess after feeding him, seeing how much it was, and then pumping that off before feeding him the next time, slowly tapering down the amount of excess milk pumped off, until we reached an equilibrium. Well, I did what she suggested and got an astonishing 4 oz. of milk off AFTER he'd nursed! Just on one side! The odd thing was, though, that was it for excess. The very next time I nursed him I had just enough to fill him up, with less than 1/2 an oz after. So we have reached our equilibrium there.

The other thing the nurse said is that Gabriel has an unusually high palate; the roof of his mouth is domed quite high. This is not a problem per se, it just means it makes it hard for him to maintain a tight latch and that's why he swallows so much air. She said we could try using a nipple shield to help his latch. I finally went and got one and figured out how to use it, but he doesn't like it - he bites down now when I use it so I'm not sure it's a solution.

So that leaves us with just burping him. During the day it's easy; I'm up and about and I can carry him around in the front carrier (either the baby bjorn or the ella roo wrap) and in that position he eventually burps it all out on his own and is quite happy. Nights are harder. I can spend an hour after nursing him getting all the burps out, only to have to get up again a half hour later to get another bubble out. I think also at night I'm just not as patient or as alert and so we end up doing this up-and-down dance for up to five hours. I'm pretty exhausted.

Valerie never really needed burping so it was a cinch to nurse her lying down and then we'd both drift off to sleep.

oops - he's awake. More later.