Monday, February 27, 2012

Six months on

Poor neglected third child doesn't get as many blog updates.

Leo's a smiley guy. Even when he's grumpy and sleepy, he'll give you a brief smile when you smile at him. When he's in a good mood, and you smile at him, it delights him so much that he almost can't contain himself. He smiles back and kicks mightily.

He's heard of those babies that sleep through the night. He won't judge them, but it's not his thing. He wakes up on average twice a night to nurse. Lately, he's been waking up for the day around 5:30 or 6. Ugh. From 4-5 months was pretty tough; he was waking up many times per night.

He tends to stay awake for 90 minutes to 2 hours at a stretch; rarely less, rarely more. In the morning, he often takes a 2-3 hour nap. Then he has an early afternoon nap that's usually between a half hour and an hour. His last nap of the day is in the later afternoon, and can be anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours. He usually goes to bed for the night between 6pm and 7:30pm, depending on how naps that day went. Sometimes, he wakes up about 45 minutes later and gets one last nursing. It's all pretty variable; we can't let him nap the way he would naturally because of school pickup time, so that can throw off the whole day.

All this sleeping is while swaddled. We've tried putting him to sleep without swaddling. The last time I tried, he slept all of 15 minutes. He often fights out of the swaddle at night, which often requires Parental Intervention to correct.

As should not be a surprise, Uma and Kieran are fascinating to him. He can't play a lot with them, but they entertain him greatly. They also help him when he rolls onto his stomach and can't roll back.

For a while, Leo didn't use his hands so much. He'd pull his hands to his mouth to suck on them, but he'd never reach out for anything. He always kept his hands close to his body. He'd stare at his dangly toys, but he wouldn't reach for them. He'd clutch things that got put in his hands, but he wouldn't get things that were in easy reach.

I got worried that his development was somehow delayed, so I made it my project at the beginning of January to teach him to be grabby. I'd practice stretching out his arms, extending his arms by pulling on his hands, alternating or together. It took a little while, but he figured out that he could grab at stuff. Now he grabs at things he wants and flails semi-intentionally at his toys. He likes it when I rub his palms against my stubble. He's also realized that his fingers themselves are fascinating objects. Now he's into the glasses grabbing phase, a standard developmental stage.

I have to clip his nails about twice a week lest he cut his face to ribbons. He claws at his head for some reason, especially when he's tired, when he grabs his ears. For completely separate reasons, his ears have little persistent wounds where the lobes are supposed to join his cheek; it's like they can't decide whether they should be attached (Mommy's and Daddy's genes are sending contradictory messages).

Leo's bald spot on the back of his head persists. It persists because what causes it persists. When he's swaddled, all he can move is his head, so he does that, and vigorously so. I'd like to find a sleeping hat that will stay on his big head to protect his scalp, but I have yet to find it.

He had some irritated skin on the left side of his face for a long time. It seems to be getting better, which happens to come after I put petroleum jelly on it a few times. I think that's coincidence, because his skin is clearing up in general.

One thing that he does that makes our lives so much easier is sending clear signals when he's tired. About two times out of three, assuming the school pickup schedule etc. cooperate, we can put him down, and he falls asleep quietly on his own.

Leo's first teeth have emerged! As is traditional in this family (apparently), it's the bottom front ones. For seemingly months they were visible just beneath the surface.

He's also started vocalizing more. There's the usual "aaaaaah" and so forth. Lately he's picked up "bvvvvvv" and "tssssss." Sometimes he rediscovers his ability to squawk and has great fun with that. It's like he's showing off this great noise he can make.

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