News and Updates

Thursday evening, 7/29, 11:30PM
The big event begins! Our water broke. The baby's water. Something like that. The hospital said to "amble on in", but didn't indicate that we need to drop everything, so I interpreted that as having enough time to write this paragraph to let you all know what's happening.
Saturday morning, 7/31, 7:43AM:
Milo is born. It was a pretty rough delivery. The doctors ended up using the vacuum extractor to get him out, as with the long labor he was showing some signs of distress on the monitors. He ended up sort of wedged in there, and in getting him out his poor little head took quite a beating. He came out in shock and very pale, having leaked quite a bit of his blood supply into the space between his skull and scalp. He was rushed up to the neonatal care center where the doctors worked on him for a couple of hours to get his vitals stable. He ended up having a transfusion to get his blood pressure back up and his oxygen levels good, and some bicarbonate to fix his blood pH, after which is color improved to a pretty normal level, his reflexes and reactivity came up, and he seemed much more comfortable.
Saturday afternoon
Milo is named. Terina had recovered enough to come upstairs from the delivery room to see him. Poor Terina, she got a short, short glimpse of him right after the delivery as we were rushing him up to the neonatal care unit, and then had to wait hours and hours to see him again. When she came up, we brought our list of names with us and went through them until we had settled on "Miles Benjamin Black" as his formal name, to be known as "Milo". He's such a sweetie. So patient with all the poking and prodding he's had to endure in his short little life so far.
Saturday evening
Before going to sleep for the night, we finally got to hold the little guy. The wonderful nurse attending him swaddled him up and arranged all his little cords, probes, and tubes, so we could take him out from under the warmer for a while to hold him. That was really, really a nice thing to get to do, and we look forward to doing lots more of it. His poor head is still very tender, though, and as just picking him up and shifting him around is pretty uncomfortable for him, we aren't doing a lot of holding right now. It's hard, but we can wait.
Sunday, 8/1
He seems so much better today. His head is much improved, both in color and shape. He got squeezed pretty hard coming out, and his forhead was kind of lumpy as is so often the case. Today, though, his head seems to be getting back to its proper shape, and except for the swelling and fluid that's still hanging around at the back of his head, he looks much more normal.
Monday, 8/2
You know how they say babies heal so much faster than adults do? Man, it sure is true. I just can't believe how much better his head looks today. Except for the circle right where the vacuum extractor was, it's basically normal baby color all over now. The swelling has gone down noticeably, and he seems much more comfortable, although the doctors say it will probably take a few days yet for the swelling to subside completely. Until then, he's got a bit of a cone-head in the back, but that's ok. I think the little scrapes and cuts he got during the delivery are bothering him more than the swelling. Also, he has improved to the point where they've moved him to a regular crib instead of being under the warmer all the time.
Today the doctors are going to ultrasound his kidneys to see how they're doing (he's peeing pretty well now, so we don't expect to find anything problematic). Also they want to perform a CT scan on his head to get a better sense for how his skull bones are doing and for where exactly all that fluid is hanging out. The doctor seems to think that he might have a bit of a skull fracture from the way that he reacts to his head being prodded. Neither the swelling nor a fracture are things that they would actually do anything about, they should resolve themselves naturally in pretty short order, but it will be good to have a better idea of what's going on and what to expect.
Tuesday, 8/3
We got the results of the head CT scan and the renal ultrasound that were done yesterday. The CT scan shows no bleeding inside his head, which is a very good thing. All he has is the "subgalial bleed" (I think that's what it was called), which is what caused all the fluid build up that's made his head so swollen. The swelling has gone down quite noticably already, although he still has sort of a knot on the back of his head that hasn't gone down yet. The renal ultrasound showed a slight dilation of some vessels in his right kidney, which the doctor says is pretty common in newborns because the start out with pretty high urine output. He's not worried about it, but it's something to watch for. They'll do a followup ultrasound in about two weeks to see if it has resolved itself.
The other big news for today (started late last night, actually) is that they're feeding him orally now. He's on a plan to ramp up to full feeding volumes over the course of about a day so they can stop giving him fluid and nutrients by IV. He's a bit of a fussy eater, though; he hasn't quite figured out the whole suck-swallow-breathe thing, as a result of which he tends to swallow a lot of air. This makes him uncomfortable after about 10 CCs or so of formula, which means then that he won't take the rest of his feeding. So, to get his stomach and gut geared up for full feeding volumes, we give him what he'll take orally, and the rest by a feeding tube he has down his nose. Poor little guy. But it's really remarkable to see how patiently he puts up with all this medical intravention.
Wednesday, 8/4:
Milo says "Happy birthday Auntie Deborah! Thanks for helping me to come out!"
Milo is doing much better, yet again, today. Yesterday they started tapering off his IV nutrients and working on oral feeding. Today they've stopped the IV entirely, so he's getting all his fluids and nutrients through milk and formula. He still has the feeding tube for now, as he has trouble eating enough in a single sitting to get through the volume they want him to be eating. But Terina's milk is coming in fast, so we're hopeful in the next day or two that we'll be able to stop the formula and go entirely to breastfeedings. He had a great feeding session today at about noon. He nursed for about a half hour straight, with very little trouble at all. He definitely likes the breast better than the bottle (daddy's little boy!). We had a lactation consultant come in to help, and she was pretty impressed with how natural a nurser he is. He latches right on and sucks like a champ.
His head is continuing to improve rapidly. He no longer screams and cries when you touch his head to pick him up, which I have to say is a really nice change. He gave us a bit of worry last night, though; we were just holding him before turning in for bed, and noticed all of a sudden that he was developing a black eye! We called the on-duty doctor in (who, by the way immediately picked up on the Phantom Tollbooth reference when he learned that we're calling him "Milo", so bonus points for Dr. Dave) to take a look at it, and he said that it was in all probablity from the blood and fluid that is still draining out of Milo's poor swollen scalp. With head injuries, sayeth the doctor, it is common for the blood to pool in the tissues around the eyes and in some other spots as the blood moves out to be re-absorbed by the body. So little Miles has a couple of black eyes (not too dark, fortunately), but it's a good thing because it means that the swelling under his scalp is going down.
Thursday, 8/5
Hard to believe it has been a week since this whole adventure started. Last thursday seems like a whole other lifetime ago. Milo's head continues to heal well, and the swelling to abate. Every day it looks noticeably better than the day before.
On the other hand, perhaps I spoke too soon yesterday with the bullish news about his feeding habits. He had some rough feeds yesterday evening and spit up quite a lot. The going theories there are either feeding too fast--with the feeding tube, they can push 50 or 60 CCs of formula down there in no time at all, which may just be a little uncomfortable to the tummy--or else that they should have ramped up to the full feeding volumes slower than they did. Either way, they took him off of formula for a couple of feeds and put him back on the IV nutrients for most of last night just to give his tummy a little break in the workload. Today we're having trouble getting his sleep schedule and his feeding schedule and our pumping schedule back in sync, so we haven't had a successful nursing session yet today.
There are some new pictures available today:
Friday, 8/6
Milo says: "Happy birthday, Mommy! Thanks for growing me so perfect!"
Milo is nursing better and better now. Still not perfect, but definitely improved: he did an entire feeding this morning all by himself (well, with Mommy's help, of course)! We're using a thing called a "nipple shield" to help him latch on. It's a funny looking clear plastic thing (think "nipple condom" for want of a better description), but it definitely seems to help. Using it, he latches on easier, eats more, and swallows less air. Most of the time, however, we seem to end up with timing problems of one sort or another. I think, really, that a lot of that is ascribable to the hospital itself. The typical schedule at each feeding time is for the nurse to come in, check and record his vitals, change him, and then to start the feeding. He wakes up just about every three hours for these feeding/prodding times anyway, but by the time they're done poking and prodding, he's gotten cranky and tires himself out with crying before we get him set up to start nursing. This morning, for instance, it was the crew coming in to do the newborn hearing test. They need him to be asleep for that test, which he was when they came in, about five minutes before feeding time. Naturally, he was no longer asleep at all by the time they got their various wires and such hooked up to him. Net result, they couldn't do the test, and delayed his feeding long enough that he didn't nurse well. Aggrivating. But when it goes well, it goes very well, so that's encouraging. At any rate, Terina definitely enjoys nursing him, so whether he eats anything or not there's at least an up side there. And he enjoys being held for the feedings too.
In other news, the doctor is still quite pleased with his progress, and says we're just waiting for him to get the whole feeding thing figured out. His head is less swollen every day, although the fluid moving out of that area has really exacerbated his black eyes. Both eyes are showing pretty clear shiners now, giving him a very raccoon boy" look.
Saturday, 8/7
Last night our nurse was Susan the Super Nurse. We really liked her. In the 8 hours of her shift, we probably learned more helpful tips and techniques for nursing and calming a crying baby than we've learned in the past week put together. She taught us so much and reassured us a great deal as well. What a difference a great nurse makes. Thanks Susan!
Thanks to Susan and to Milo's ever increasing abilities, he's nursing a whole lot better today. So much better, in fact, that last night they've stopped feeding him through the tube. We had been going through a rigamarole of weighing him, nursing him, weighing him again to see how much he ate, and then sending the rest of his 60cc meal through the feeding tube. And repeating this process every three hours. Susan recognized that this was probably overkill, and canned the three hour schedule in favor of "ad hoc" feedings whenever he's hungry. On his own he wakes up every couple of hours to eat, but it's much easier to deal with when we don't have to move him from the crib to the scale to terina, back to the scale, and then back to the crib. Doesn't sound like a couple of quick weighings would be that big of a deal, but with all the tubes and wires he's got hanging off of him, it's really rather stressful. Anyway, he seems to eat much better when he wakes up and goes straight to the breast, skipping all the fuss over diapers, taking his temperature, etc. The other up-side to feeding him this way is that we pretty much don't have to use the breast pump anymore, which saves ever so much time and consequently, creates extra sleep for us.
This morning the doctor decided to stop Milo's course of antibiotics a little early (like, one dose early). Not a huge deal in terms of medication, but it does mean that he gets to have his PICC line taken out today. That means no more IV!. We're really excited about that. Wrangling his IV line while moving him from the crib to Terina for nursing is a real challenge, one that I will not miss. Also, the doctor decided he didn't need to have the pulse oxygen sensor anymore, which means one less wire. By the end of the day, then, he should be down to just his ECG and respiration monitors, which is just one cable to manage. That'll be nice.
Given how well he's doing, the nurses are of the opinion that we'll be discharged from the hospital tomorrow or possibly Monday. Coming home, yay! We're really looking forward to that. In the meantime, after he gets his PICC line taken out today, they have no reason to keep him in the special care nursery, so they'll move us to a room in the ordinary pediatric ward until we go home. So, if any of you have been calling us at the 425-899-6666 number, we won't be there after probably 2:00 PM today. We'll leave our new phone number with Terina's mom, so you can call the house (425-558-9656) to get it.
New pictures today:
Sunday, 8/8
Big day today. We're Home!
Gosh, it seems like it has been a very full day already, and it's only 1:30 in the afternoon yet. We fed him as he wanted all night, and he ate pretty well. We were understandably somewhat stressed about him actually eating, since that was the criteria for him coming home. Doctor Jackson came by unexpectedly early in the day to assess him. The nurses had said to expect him in the afternoon, as typically they visit the sickest babies first in their rounds. But regardless, he came by at about 10:00 or so, checked Milo over, and declared that he had "made a remarkable recovery". Words a parent loves to hear, I can tell you. He checked out all Milo's reflexes, responses, and gave him a neurological screen and found everything to be in the normal range. He passed his hearing test just fine yesterday. His knee-tap-kick reflex is, apparently, "a little brisk", but still normal. Whatever that means. Anyway, he declared Milo fit to go home, and set the nurse to work on our discharge paperwork.
She started by disconnecting Milo from his remaining three wires, so for the first time in a long time, we had a baby with nothing attached! It's really much more pleasant to hold a baby when you're not worried about moving the wrong way and ripping his IV out (unlikely, given how well they tape those things down, but still) or getting his toes tangled in the wires and making him cry. Also, she gave him his first hepatitis-b vaccination today, which he really didn't like, but that was the only unpleasant thing he had to endure today.
With that, we started packing up our room and hauling stuff out to the car. I spent about 20 minutes figuring out how to install the car seat. Getting it in there and attached is not too tricky, but making it level took a few tries. We took a carseat class a couple of months ago, which was a good class, and I'm glad I'd taken it because while I probably would have installed it just the same without the class, this way I have much more confidence that it's installed correctly. According to the woman who ran that class, something like 80 percent of carseats are installed incorrectly, which when you think about it is a pretty scary statistic.
The nurses walked us out (why they are required to do this, I'm not sure), checked his ID ankle bracelet against our ID bracelets, made Terina sign a form affirming that we're going home with the correct baby, checked to make sure that his infant carrier clicked properly into the carseat base, and sent us on our way. We had a nice slow quiet drive home. Having had a fairly exciting morning and being awake for a good long while, Milo slept all the way home.
So we're home now, and very happy to be here. Finally, life can start returning to normal. Well, the new normal, anyway, whatever that turns out to be.
New pictures today:
Monday, 8/9
Just a quiet day at home today. What a nice change from the hospital bustle! Nothing more traumatic for the little guy today than having his diaper changed, or perhaps being picked up by daddy's cold hands. Hard to say which is worse. He's turning out to be a pretty happy baby, and is even learning to smile now. Very cute! As soon as I can catch him at it with the camera, I'll post a picture. In other news, I've added a thumbnail index for all the pictures, to make your lives a little easier in that department.
Tuesday, 8/10
Milo had his first visit with the pediatrician today. We're seeing Dr. Brubaker at the Pediatric Association in Redmond. Dr. Brubaker is very nice, and after reading the summary she got from Dr. Jackson at the hospital, she too is astonished at how well Milo has recovered from his trauma. Always nice to surprise the doctors like that. Milo dealt with the whole visit pretty well, except for being cold (doctors' offices are always cold, and we'd forgotten to bring a swaddling blanket for him), and for when they had to draw some blood from his heel for his followup PKU test. He really didn't like that part. But, as usual, he stopped crying and fussing just about the same moment the nurse was done and had put the bandaid on his foot. Nice to know that, at least so far, he doesn't seem to be prone to over-reacting to these things.
Tuesday, 8/17
Well it has been a good week here at the "T-J-M Ranch". Milo is doing great. He's starting to settle into some sort of circadian rhythm. That is a very nice thing, as it means we have some idea of what to expect out of the next few hours, whichever hours those might be. Also, we're figuring out more and more every day how to work with his signals and feeding cycles so as to have quieter nights and get more sleep.
We had a followup visit with the pediatrician today. She was very pleased with his progress, particularly in the weight department. Not only is his head almost entirely healed now, but he put on an amazing 14 ounces in the past seven days. Surprised everybody. He now weighs in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces. We knew he was looking bigger!
Sunday, 8/22
No particular news to report, except that I've posted some new pictures
Tuesday, 8/24
Busy day today. We had an appointment in the morning for a kidney ultrasound test. This was a followup to an ultrasound they took while we were still in the hospital. They're checking his kidneys because there is a slight association between kidney problems and having a "single-vessel cord" (an umbilical cord with only one, instead of the usual two, arteries). This is more of a precaution than anything else.
Milo was very good through the whole experience. He didn't cry and fuss at all in the waiting room. Nor did he in the exam room, which was sort of a surprise; for the test he had to lay down on the exam table with nobody holding him. Lying down on an open, flat surface by himself is really not his favorite thing, but apparently it was ok today. After that we visited Auntie Deborah, because she works at Childrens' Hospital where we had to go for the ultrasound. This was very convenient, as we got to hide in her office and feed Milo before heading home, which was a good thing as by that point he hadn't eaten in quite some time (another reason we were so surprised he wasn't super-fussy).
In other news, his neck is getting stronger by the day and he's holding his head up a lot better now. Sitting upright to burp him, you hardly have to support his head at all now, and today I noticed him lifting his head up while on his tummy, which is a new thing too.
Friday, 8/27
I'm reading this really interesting book called "What's going on in there?" which is all about how a baby's cognition and senses develop. Not only is it fascinating and easy to read (which is nice, given that it was written by a neurobiologist) but it offers some very useful insights into how to interact with your baby. For instance, the chapter discussing the vestibular system (where we get our sense of balance and motion) explains why babies like to be rocked an bounced so much, and suggests that babies also like spinning for the same reason. Sure enough, when Milo is fussy, he likes to be held and walked around, which gives him a very rhythmic bounce that usually quiets him down. But when he's really fussy, walking around doesn't do it. Spinning, however, does. So we sit in the spinny office chair and spin around a few times and he quiets right down. It's amazing, if a little nauseating for poor old daddy.
Jason's Dad Eric came for a quick visit on Wednesday to meet Milo. He couldn't stay long, but we all had a good time visiting and going out to lunch. That was the first opportunity we've had to go out to eat since the night we went into labor. Gosh, that seems like a whole other lifetime ago now.
We got the results from Milo's ultrasound of this past Tuesday. They called the results "essentially normal". I'm not sure what "essentially normal" means, exactly, but at the very least it seems to mean that they're not worried enough about anything to do any more tests. So that's good.
Finally, right on schedule, his baby acne has really gone into full bloom over the past couple of days. The books tells us that baby acne comes from the hormone surge that occurs during labor and delivery. All sorts of maternal hormones pass across the placenta and into the baby's bloodstream, which end up stimulating the oil glands in his cheeks and causing acne just like it does in teenagers. I don't quite understand why baby acne usually comes around at about week 4--which is where we're at--but that's what the books say. I'd have thought it would show up right after birth, if it's from labor hormones. But then, I'm no biologist, so what do I know?
Friday, 9/24/2004
Sorry there hasn't been an update in so long. What can I say; we've been busy being too tired to do much. Tomorrow Milo will be 8 weeks old, and that's a long time to go without getting more than a couple of hours of sleep at a time. So far, Milo hasn't really shown any willingness to sleep longer at night. We may have to try something soon if he doesn't start sleeping longer on his own. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
Anyway, almost two months now, and Milo's doing great. For the most part, he's still a laid-back baby, although he does have his fussy days. Today was a fussy day. Not sure what the problem was, but he just screamed his head off for most of the afternoon. We have a theory--difficult to prove or disprove--that perhaps the diaper wraps we're using are getting a little small, cutting off circulation in his legs, and causing them to fall asleep. If that's the case, well, I can hardly blame him for screaming. I wouldn't expect any baby to deal well with having pins-and-needles legs.
At any rate, Milo is definitely getting bigger. We haven't had him weighed on anything particularly accurate in a while, but he's probably about 10 and a half pounds now. His bassinet is starting to look small, which puts the pressure on to finish our remodel so we can get him a real crib and have someplace to put it. :)
Developmentally, as far as I can tell Milo is growing normally. He is holding his head up quite well now, as long as he isn't too tired. When held upright looking over your shoulder, he'll prop himself quite upright and look around for quite a while at a time. We've learned to be careful, though; when he is tired, he loses a lot of head control, and has a tendancy to suddenly and violently bonk his head into Daddy's shoulder blade, Mommy's jaw, etc. Nobody likes that, particularly in the former case, since Daddy's shoulder blades are almost entirely un-padded. In other areas, he's starting to show some interest in objects and noises around him, such as toys, rattles, mirrors, and so forth. We don't have a good picture of it, but when he's in a good mood he seems to quite enjoy playing in his little activity gym (the thing in this picture), which has some chimes to kick, a mirror, and some animal toys hanging down to grab at. He hasn't started to develop his reach-and-grab skills yet, but that shouldn't start happening quiet yet. Until then, he enjoys looking at the toys, flailing his limbs, and turning his head to look at the various noise-making items.
Other than that, his black-eyes are gone now (to be replaced by more ordinary sleepy-type dark circles) and his baby acne has almost entirely gone away.
Sunday, 10/03/2004
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Everybody in the house has a cold. Poor Milo is so stuffy it's hard for him to nurse because he can't breathe very well through his nose. Needless to say, he hates it when we use the blue snot-sucker device--the squeeze bulb with a tapered tube on it--on him. Consequently, his sleep is off, our sleep is off, and everyone is feeling a little ragged. Terina says "it's amazing how much snot a little nose can make."
In other news, Milo has gotten quite good at getting his hands up to his mouth when he wants to, and is starting to figure out how to get his thumb in his mouth. As someone who is getting a little tired of the "put the binky back in every five seconds or I'll cry" game, Daddy is pretty excited about this development.
Thursday, 10/13/2004
Last night, Milo gave us a heck of a time getting to sleep. Normally, every evening he hits this brick wall of tired, usually around 8:00 or 9:00, through which we simply can't keep him awake. He didn't do that last night, so when he finally got sleepy around 10:00, we figured we were going to have an easy time getting him down. But then he slept for about five minutes, woke up, and proceeded to kick, squirm, and thrash like a madman for the next two hours. He finally fell asleep aroud midnight after Terina took him for a walk, and then slept for a bit over SIX whole hours! Then we changed him and fed him, and he slept for another two and a half! That's almost 9 hours with only one feeding! It's amazing what you get excited about.
In other news, progress on the thumb-sucking front proceeds slowly. He seems to be in a sort of limbo where he wants to be sucking on his something, but can't quite get his thumb reliably, and yet wants to practice that to the exclusion of his normal pacifier. Consequently, he ends up frustrated because he can't suck on either. Of course, we want to let him practice with his hands and thumbs, but it's hard to watch him be frustrated.
Thursday, 11/25/2004
Happy Thanksgiving!
Sorry for the long time between updates, but on the other hand, that means there's lots of news to report! A couple of nights ago, Daddy had a dream that we had another baby (a girl, this time), who was about half Milo's size in all three dimensions. Milo looked just huge next to her. That is, of course, much smaller than an actual new baby would be, so Daddy takes this as his subconscious pointing out how big Milo's getting. We haven't weighed him on anything particularly accurate or trustworthy in a while, but he's getting up towards 14 pounds now. He is, in fact, starting to outgrow some of the 3-to-6 month clothes we have for him, so if you're thinking about getting Milo some cute outfits for Christmas, you'll want to coordinate with Terina to figure out what size would be best.
Developmentally, there's lots going on. Just this past week, Milo has started doing two exciting things: one, reaching for and grabbing toys that are put in front of him and then bringing them to his mouth to chew on. He's been reaching and grabbing for a while now, but only just recently has he started to explore and interact with his toys in the typical baby must-taste-everything mode.
Just two days ago, on Tuesday, he rolled over (belly-to-back) by himself for the first time! Very exciting! Daddy was at work, but Mommy saw him do it four times in a row, and even got one of them on video! (warning: large file) He can almost roll back-to-belly now too, but not quite. He gets himself over to his side pretty readily, but hasn't quite figured out that to complete the roll he needs to straighten his legs back out and get his arms into the act.
He also stands up pretty well, too. Not by himself, of course, but if supported under his arms (when he's in the mood, anyway) he'll stand for quite some time before his legs get tired. One of Milo and Daddy's favorite games lately is to play stand-up in Daddy's lap, where Daddy holds him by the hands and Milo stands up. He wobbles around while practicing his balance, before eventually sitting down on Daddy's lap. Milo really enjoys this, and seems to get a tremendous sense of pride and self-confidence at his accomplishment.
And finally, we suspect he may turn out to be an early teether. He's drooling a lot the past couple of weeks, and if you let him bite on your finger, his gums are starting to feel harder than they used to be. So we're waiting and watching, and starting to put bibs on him.
Thursday, 12/02/2004
What a day!
The day started with a trip to the doctor's office for Milo's 4 month Well Child checkup. Quite hard to believe it has been four months already. We got him weighed and measured (14 lbs, 13 oz, 24.25 inches). I can't believe he's almost 15 pounds already. It sounds like more if I think about it as equivalent to three bags of flour, so I'll try to stick with just thinking of him as our little baby.
Also, he got four immunization shots, which needless to say were not appreciated by the recipient. The doctor talked to us for a long time, answering piles of questions we had saved up for her. She's such a great, patient, reassuring doctor. She proclaimed Milo fit as a fiddle, remarked quite favorably on his standing abilities (as described in the previous update), and remarked to him "well, you must think you're six months old" when she held him up in the standing position, and confirmed that he may indeed start teething soon.
She also asked us if he had started laughing yet, which as it turns out was quite a prophetic question. We told her that he has been squealing and such for a while now, but then later in the day he actually laughed a real laugh for Mommy! And then this evening, while playing on Daddy's lap, he laughed some more and quick-reacting Mommy got it on Video!
Anyway, that was our exciting day. This evening our Peer Early Parenting Support (PEPS) group failed to meet due to absenteeism, so we have an unplanned quiet evening on our hands in which we can do things like post videos for you.
Sunday, 2/6/2005
I told you updates were going to become more sporadic and widely spaced. Anyway, sorry it's been so long. But that means there's lots to tell!
Since our last update, we've been to Albuquerque for Christmas, endured another baby cold, watched in amazement as Milo has learned to sit up, roll around on the floor, babble, and has made other astounding jumps in his mental and physical abilities.
Christmas trip: We flew down to ABQ on December 22nd, Milo's first plane ride! On the whole, he did great. He was pretty interested in all the goings-on at the airport, and managed to nurse more or less when we needed him to during the ascent and descent. He fussed a bit while we were coming in to ABQ, but really not much. Not like those terror flights where there's an inconsolate infant for the whole ride. On the whole we had a great time visiting with Terina's family; Milo thoroughly enjoyed having so many people around to play with him. On the down side, we went through the baby sleep "perfect storm", wherein the new environment, the new people, a nasty cold, and some developmental jumps all conspired to keep Milo from sleeping more than an hour or two at a stretch. So for two weeks it was like having a newborn again. We were so tired. But other than that, it was a dandy trip. Still, I think we're going to make people come visit us for Christmas for a while.
Sleeping: thankfully, Milo got over his cold before we came home, and returned to his good sleep habits within a couple of days after we got home. We've been working to establish a much stricter routine for bedtimes and naptimes, with good results. At night he regularly sleeps from 7:30 or so till around 6:00 the next morning, although about half the time he'll wake up for a half hour or so, at some random point in the night, to yell at us. We ignore it, and he goes back to sleep on his own. Naps are another story. Sometimes he'll go straight to sleep without much fuss, other times he'll scream for a long time before falling asleep (he just went about 40 minutes, as I type this, before giving it up), and he has been known to yell long enough to outlast our patience.
Sitting up: Milo has become quite the expert sitter now. He still can't get to a sitting position by himself, but when placed in one he can stay there for quite a long time. Any more he seems to only flop over when he's trying to reach something that's far away, so it's unclear whether his flopping over is accidental or intentional.
Rolling: In just the past couple of weeks, Milo has not only figured out how to roll from his back to his belly, but how to put that new trick together with the belly-to-back roll in order to move around. It seems almost a foregone conclusion that he'll be crawling for real within another week or two. We are both proud and terrified, and scrambling to baby-proof the house. We put a gate across the stairs yesterday, and have replaced the dangerous glass in our entertainment center with plexiglass, but there's still so much left to do.
Babbling: He has also become much more vocal this past month. About three weeks ago, now, he all of a sudden started babbling in a different, much more intentional way. He'll practice saying "ba-ba-ba-ba", "wa-wa-wa-wa" and other similar (although sometimes less easy to classify) sounds. We encourage him in this, and babble back at him like the parenting books suggest, and have also started making much more use of baby signs so he'll have those in his mind for when he's ready for them too.
Teething: Despite the doctor's indications at his four month checkup, Milo has still not cut his first tooth yet. So I guess he won't be an early teether after all, which really is just fine. They'll come out when they're ready.
Six months old! Milo turned six months old on January 31st (by the calendar), January 30th (by number days since 7/31/04), or January 25th (by lunar months). Take your pick. Although he didn't get to have any, we made him half a cake to celebrate. Along with turning 6 months old, Milo got to go to the doctor for a checkup. The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, and we spent a long time talking with her about feeding. For the past six weeks or so, Milo has been quite keen on watching us eat. We noticed this while were were in Albuquerque for Christmas, and ever since then one of his favorite things to do is to watch us eat dinner. He's just fascinated by the way the fork or spoon goes up full, and comes back down empty. You can see the "hey, where's mine!" gears turning in his little head. So, after talking about it with the doctor, we started feeding him on February 1st. He got the usual first baby food, rice cereal flakes mixed with breastmilk. We nearly made a disaster out of the experience by using milk that had been in the fridge a little too long, but fortunately we tasted it first before giving any. It was so bad we needed to have brownies to get the taste out of our mouths. So we ended up pumping some fresh milk and starting over. Milo just loved it. He ate it right up and seemed to have a great time doing so. We've been doing that ever since, once a day near to our dinnertime. He has done remarkably well with it. He must have been really really ready for food, as it took him almost no time at all to figure out that he's supposed to eat the cereal (as opposed to spitting it out, rubbing all over his face, etc.) Which is not to say that he doesn't lose quite a bit of it down his chin, but on the whole he actually eats a lot more of it than I would have expected.
Our little reader: We read to Milo as much as we can. We read to him before bed, and most times, before naps too. When he's not too tired, he will even turn the pages! We get to the end of the page, and ask "Can you turn the page for me?" and most times, he'll reach out for the page and flip it over. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge getting him to let go of the page, and sometimes he wants to turn the pages backwards through the book, but hey, he's only six months!
And finally, although this is not about Milo specifically, it bears mentioning: babies are just coming out of the woodwork these days! Terina's best friend Deborah is pregnant, and get this, her due date is August 6th! Just one year minus one day from Milo's due date. And as of January 30th, Milo has a cousin! Jason's sister Lydia had her baby, one Maia Jane Stark, who is just adorable. We can't wait to introduce them!