Dear Julien … Letters to my second son.

Wednesday, 5th July, 2006

11 Months

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 8:36

Dear Julien,

Yesterday, on July 4th you turned 11 months old. Unfortunately, our camera is broken and my phone is missing so the only photos I have are from the morning’s swim, taken with Daddy’s phone-camera. Once he emails those shots to me, I can post your picture from that day.

At just shy of a year you are cruising very well and in the last two weeks you’ve started standing up without holding onto anything. When you realize that you’re upright without support your face gets all surprised-looking and you sit down in startlement. A few times you’ve started to take a step while unsupported, but you’re not quite there yet: you still want to grab onto someone or something. You walk around holding onto my hands though and you still crawl very ably and very fast! The other day you surprised us by crawling up the stairs. That was a panicky moment of realization for me as you suddenly appeared out of nowhere when you were supposed to be downstairs with your Daddy. Instead you came rolling into the bathroom laughing, with your eyes all a-twinkle and this oh-so-proud expression on your face. You knew what you’d done even if no one else did! Time to put some gates on the stairs for sure.

You’re working on your 6th tooth, it’s hanging out beside the fifth one but hasn’t quite cut the gum yet. Soon enough you’ll have a full on white smile instead of the gap-toothed one you sport now. Generally speaking a preventative dose of Tylenol before bedtime helps you to deal with any teething pain and most nights you’re only waking once and sometimes you’re sleeping through which makes for a happy Mommy.

Your first words turned up this month, clearer versions of the “duhduhduh” and “mumumumum” of earlier months, you said “Dah-dee” about a week ago and you’re addressing me directly as “Mumum” without the extra trailing sounds. Victor has a moniker too though it’s sometimes indistinguishable from your general babble. “Bahpah” is what it comes out as, roughly, but “bah” is your favorite babbling sound right now and is often used for your first “phrase” which is “bye bye” said, “bah bah” while you wave. I’m trying to work on “Hi” with you now too and I can hear you mimic me to put those sounds together “Ahheee” “Haaaa”. It’s not consistent, but you’re definitely trying: you’re a big talker and keep up a constant patter of cheerful babbling, warbling, chirping and of course, grunting.

Another cute thing you’ve started doing in the past few weeks is putting your head down on a person or on the floor or couch either when you’re sleepy, when you’re wanting a cuddle or when you’re feeling sad/frustrated about being prevented from doing something. Daddy thinks you picked this up from your big brother and that it’s more mimicking. I just think it’s cute and can’t resist sweeping you up into my arms and kissing your forehead to make you feel better or rocking you gently so you can fall asleep.

Recently you and I have also gotten into bumping foreheads and noses lightly. You think this is the funniest thing ever and will happily spend 10 minutes or so, pressing your forehead against mine and lining your nose up with mine while you laugh and laugh and laugh. You also poke your face around into my line of sight if I’m sitting with you on my lap and I’m distracted by something: book, TV, computer to make sure that you get eye contact from me. It’s a little disconcerting sometimes to realize how aware you are, but it’s also a very good thing and it makes me laugh when you do it, because it’s also very cute to see your little face pop up in front of mine, with this broad grin and your eyes alight and questioning as if to say: “Mama? Are you there? It’s me, Jelly Bean!”

Your relationship with your big brother is an ever-evolving one, this month as you’ve become more able to play with him, you and Vic have been spending more and more time together in joint activities. More often than not, they’re still side by side things, with you tagging after him and trying to do what he’s doing, but increasingly, he draws you in, or what you’re doing captures his interest and the two of you wind up playing together. It’s the cutest thing ever to watch you both pushing cars along the floor of the kitchen side-by-side or having spoon clashes with a pair of spoons from the silverware drawer. Your closeness extends to your sleep as well, with Victor still being calmed a lot by your presence beside him. Unfortunately, the same is not the case for you, if Vic is still riled up he can knock you out of a sleepy state and back into play mode which can make for some unfortunate slips in your bedtime. Generally speaking though, if I leave the two of you curled up together once asleep, you wake up happier, playing and “talking” together in the early morning hours, often with games of hide and seek under the covers, or “tag” across the surface of the bed.

You’re sleeping about half the night in your crib these days. I can get you to sleep and put you down in it and put the side on and you’ll sleep there for 4-5 hours at a stretch. You tend to wake up around 2am though, crying and disoriented and you come in with us at that point. Once or twice you’ve slept all the way through the night without waking to nurse, but that’s not a constant yet. I expect that that will happen at some point in the coming year after your first birthday. For now, I’m happy to snuggle up with you and with your brother while I can. I know that it won’t be long before you’re both protesting too much affection from me with a fond, but impatient “Mooooom!”

We’re in the countdown now, to your first birthday. We’ll be having a little party for you at the beginning of next month. Your brother’s reaction was “Will I get any presents?” which made me laugh though I’m trying to get him to buy into the concept of helping me to get something special for you.

As always, you grow and change in wonderful ways every day and it’s a joy to watch you growing up, even if sometimes we want to put on the brakes and say “Wait, stop … just stay little for a while.”


Sunday, 4th June, 2006

10 Months

Filed under: Checkups,General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 14:13

Dear Julien,

I’ve missed two updates from life being so hectic in the past few months and here we are staring your first birthday down way too soon.

You’re starting to have that look, that toddler look instead of an infant’s look. You’ve been so busy crawling and cruising the furniture that you’ve slimmed down some, though you still have nice chubby thighs and dimples in your cheeks.

Mobility has been the big milestone of the past two months since I last updated. You’ve gone from uncertain to expert crawling baby and from crawling baby to cruising baby, tentative pulling up that started about a month ago giving way to constant, capable pulling up and the first trial steps between pieces of furniture, holding onto one and stepping to the other without letting go until a hand is firmly in place at destination.

Like your big brother before you, you’ve drastically reduced the amount of milk you’re drinking over the last few weeks as your overall consumption of solid foods increases and the range of foods you can eat broadens. I’m looking forward to serving ice cream at your first birthday party so you can have some at last after months of “not for baby” while serving you sorbet.

You’ve grown a lot too, you now weigh just a few ounces shy of 20lbs and you’re 30.5 inches tall (last well-baby visit was on May 29), again matching your big brother’s growth curve with your height up in the 90th percentile or higher and weight hovering around average. You’re comfortable in 6-12 month sizes and starting to edge into the 12-18 stuff, especially pants, due to your height.

Verbally speaking, you’re starting to make more and more speech-like sounds and you correctly use “m” and “d” sounds to identify me and your father. It’s not quite “Mama” and “Dada” yet, but it’s close. You also enthusiastically say “Umyumyumumum” during mealtimes, lunging for the next spoonful of eats with eager appetite. You vastly prefer feeding yourself in fact and I’m thinking of ways to let you do that without turning mealtime into a total smear-fest of baby food. My best ideas are veggie breads and meatloaf, but I’ve yet to sit down and bake any of these for you.

Emotionally you’re starting to show signs of separation anxiety. You don’t like it if I leave the room you’re in and follow doggedly after on all fours, wailing at changes in direction that take me out of sight. You’re also showing affection these days, tilting your head to rest on shoulders with a sweet look, giving slobbery kisses and proto-hugs.

You only get sweeter as you grow up.

Saturday, 18th February, 2006

First Tooth

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 20:54

Dear Julien,

You cut your first tooth on Thursday at last. You were chewing on my finger while I was holding you when I picked you up from daycare and I could feel that hard edge up front. Like many babies, you’ve started with one of your front bottom teeth. This is the same tooth that your brother got first as well(at roughly the same age) and the second one followed very shortly after. Given how both of these teeth have been pushing up for so long in your mouth, I won’t be surprised if the same thing happens for you.

You’ve been a little less cranky since the tooth actually came through, so I can only assume that it was really bugging you.

Sunday, 5th February, 2006

6 months

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 11:38

Dear Julien,

You turned 6 months yesterday amid little fanfare – you’ve been very ill and we’re all still recovering from a week’s worth of no sleep and worrying about you. You caught RSV and developed pneumonia as a secondary infection last week and spent two days in the hospital on breathing treatments to keep your airways open and oxygen to keep your blood-oxygen levels up. Now that the worst has passed and you’re on the road to recovery, I’ve had a little time to focus on how far you’ve come in just half a year.

Julien taking a breathing treatment

You can sit unsupported now, for a very long time before keeling over either to the side, or backwards, so it’s still a good idea for us to put pillows around you to guard against falls, but otherwise you’re very comfortable sitting and playing with your toys. You especially like sitting in the bassinet part of the playpen, up at our level so you can see us, turning over the critters from your playmat and chewing on play-links.

You can’t quite crawl yet, but you’re still working on it. You’re getting very comfortable being up on all fours and rocking in place there. It’s just a matter of getting propulsion figured out and you’ll be off and running, which means … it’s time to childproof for a baby and a three year old, instead of just a three year old.

You can pass things from one hand to the other. Yesterday we snuck out for lunch for a little while and you grabbed a small apple off of my plate. Solemnly you passed it into your other hand, and then back, trying to lift the fruit to your mouth to gum on it.

You are babbling in consonants now, “dadadadada” is a common combination in your speech these days along with “gagaga” and you’re starting to go “mumumumum” though of course you’re not ready to attach either combination to one of us yet. It’s just fun to hear you babytalking and to talk right back at you.

Your favorite games are trading raspberries, getting lots of smoochies on your cheeks and watching me clap. You also think that tickling is the best thing ever. You still enjoy your bath, but have had a little bit of trauma lately about getting your face wet, mostly because of your big brother jumping into the tub with you and splashing you in the face.

You’re starting to really enjoy playing with Victor now, your face lights up when you see him, though sometimes his exuberance and loud voice scare you and you retreat, burying your face into my shoulder. The other day you guys spent some time batting a toy back and forth and it just made me smile so big to think that in a year or so, maybe sooner, you will be able to play with each other.

You got your first real tastes of solid food this weekend: I mushed up a banana and you had a couple of spoonfuls. You seemed to like the banana quite well, so this week we’ll try pureed carrot and if that goes over well, some peaches or pears next week and then sweet potatoes the week after that. Regardless of what you eat or whether or not you eat anything at all, you like sitting up in your highchair with us at the table and banging on the table or your tray with your plastic teething spoon. Mealtimes are about to get a lot more interesting and a lot messier!

Despite the fact that you were so sick, you gained quite a bit of weight since your last well-baby checkup. You put on half a pound to land at 18lbs 1oz just a few days before you turned 6 months old. You lost a little bit of weight to dehydration and poor appetite after you came home from the hospital, but I’m sure you’ll bounce right back. I checked Victor’s growth stats for 6 months since we had your weight for 6 months now, without a two week gap and sure enough, you’re pacing him, pound for pound, and nearly inch for inch, same growth curve. It’s just that your ratio is a bit more inclined towards the weight side and his was more inclined towards the height side, which is why you’re a chubby baby and Vic was always a stringbean. Either way, you are and were, both absolutely adorable babies.

Your sunshiney demeanor continues, even while sick in the hospital, you were trying to smile when you weren’t too tired and your laughter soon returned once you were able to breathe properly.

It’s so good to hear you laughing again.

Love, Mommy

Saturday, 14th January, 2006

I Wanna MOVE!

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 22:58

Here’s a little video of Julien trying to crawl. He wants to be able to go-go-go all by himself so badly.
His frustration increases with each failure to acheive motion, grunting and squealing and then finally crying.

He’s getting there though, today, I was so sure he was finally going to take off. He had a full, on-all-fours position going on and his feet were digging in properly behind him, but he couldn’t quite hold his mid-section firm while pushing with his legs.

So we do not have take-off yet.

Julien Tries To Crawl

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