Monday, February 19, 2007

Eating & Communicating

Caleb is such a good eater! Since he turned 8-months-old, he has been eating three hearty (for a baby) meals a day and two snacks in addition to his five regular breastfeedings. Since he turned 9-months-old, he has been eating everything that we eat. (I didn't follow the recommendations for introducing foods.) I just put a helping of our dinner into the Magic Bullet (food processor) and there is Caleb's lunch and dinner the next day. He has baby yogurt and oatmeal cereal for breakfast every morning, and Cheerios and fruit for his snacks. He eats everything I offer him, with very few exceptions. Just recently he has learned how to indicate that he would like a certain food (pointing at the cabinet where we keep the Cheerios, reaching for a banana on the counter), and he has sometimes resisted the meal in front of him because he wants something else, but he eventually eats what I'm offering.

A few days ago he started signing "more", and he signs "more" every time his food is gone. The first time I kept giving him more b/c I was so happy that he was signing, but now I just have to distract him when he's had enough, or he might just eat all day! I still do baby sign language with him regularly. I sign "up", "please", "all done", "open", "drink", "eat", "diaper" and a few others. For me, the purpose of signing is so that I can expect him to communicate some basic wants/needs without the whining that he uses now. When the baby gate closes right in front of him, instead of whining and crying, he can learn to say "open". Well, so far, all he has picked up on is "more", but I'm told that signing takes off more after a year. He DEFINITELY understands a lot of words, phrases and questions that he hears a lot, and I know he understands from his strong reactions every time he hears them. "Do you want to go outside?" sends him running to the front door. "Are you hungry?" sends him whining all the way to the high chair (as if he just realized he's starving). He also responds immediately to "Take a bath?" "Want some milk?" "Where's Dadda?" "Watch TV?" "Turn on the light" and "See the dogs?" "Time to change your diaper?" sends him whining and running, and "I'm gonna get you!" makes him laugh so hard he can barely walk.

He repeats the sounds that we make, particularly the initial sound "Ba" for "ball", "Da" for "dog", "ba-ba" for baby... you get the general idea, but doesn't have any words that he consistently uses to label the same thing. He does say "da-da", but he calls many things and many people "da-da" with only a slight but distinct preference for calling Marcus "da-da". I haven't heard any form of "ma-ma" from him since he was babbling at 5-months and then completely gave up the "mm" sound for months.
It is so much more fun to spend time with him now that he understands so much and is able to communicate some on his own. The downside is that wilfulness (on his side) and discipline (on mine) has entered our relationship, and that makes everything a little more stressful. My only sadness is that one year is almost over and I truly can't believe that he is becoming a little boy instead of my baby. If his independence at 11-months makes my heart ache, what will I do when he's a teenager??????

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mobility & Tantrums

It has been more than 4 months since I took the time to write an entry on this site! It has also been more than 4 months since Caleb became mobile... Hmmm...

Caleb started crawling at 6 1/2 months, and since then his personality has blossomed. So many options opened up for him once he could crawl: instead of just playing with whatever toy I put in front of him, he was able to choose any toy in the room. And he didn't limit himself to just toys, either! With the realization of his power to choose came the realization that many other things in his environment could be altered to please him, if he would just assert his new-found control. He wanted to touch and explore everything in sight, and he often threw a bonafide temper tantrum when he was denied what he was pursuing, be it Daddy's soda or Mommy's cell phone or the dogs' medicine. His fits at this age were (and still are) just incredibly adorable, and I really have to fight to keep from laughing when he throws them. His face contorts into the most injured expression imaginable, his bottom lip protrudes and quivers, and he wails. Often he adds to the dramatic moment by throwing himself forward onto the floor and wailing with his face buried in the carpet, with an occasional glance up to make sure that his audience is still there. For those of you who may be worrying that I enjoy his fits a little too much and may be encouraging them--fear not. What is cute in my living room is embarrassing elsewhere, and I have not once ever given in to one of his little tantrums. Alas, my consistency seems to be working and the adorable little pity parties are getting shorter and less frequent. I really hope I can get one on camera before they cease to be this cute...