Monday, September 22, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Three months and counting...

video

We've been trying to capture Monkey's most adorable and exciting moments - and failing miserably, as you might guess if you just watched that riveting (ha ha) video. I have no idea how to add some more... interesting background music to that video, but I guess we can console ourselves with the most excellent sound effects performed by Mr. Zookeeper. When I first watched the video I assumed it was more boring news in the background (Banks are failing! Politicians lie! Doom and Gloom!) but listening again it sounds like a discussion of mojo by someone who sounds like Orson Welles. So, um, yeah. No idea what we were watching.*

So. As you have just witnessed, Monkey very much likes to fly. He would spend whole evenings airborne if we had the wrist strength for that kind of activity. He's been having some rough times with his reflux lately, and we think he likes the counterpressure on his chest as well as the clear superiority of space travel. He's been on a different medicine for about a week and we are starting to see some improvement. Last week he weighed 11 pounds and 4 ounces, which is more than double his birthweight! Most babies double their birthweight between four and six months, so he is ahead of schedule. He has also grown another inch or so (he was pretty squirmy) so it is safe to say he is over 22 inches long. We have a couple of 3-6 month outfits for fall that he has been wearing, but he can still wear most of his newborn clothes if he has a disposable diaper on (as he might if we are going out for an extended type outing). Very exciting.

He's discovered the fun and excitement of fitting his entire hand in his mouth, and has been more interested in his rattles and his hanging toys (see below). Continuing with the standing, of course, as he is a world champion stander. We just borrowed some exersaucers from our friends and can't wait until he fits in them! He is a gold medal contender in the bath time olympics, and still sad that the pools are closed. Not much luck in the sitting unassisted department, but we're still working on it.

It is hard to believe that three whole months have gone by since Monkey's arrival - he is growing so fast! He even has his own library card now!





*Figured it out - a most excellent television series by Joss Whedon. Genius! Extra points to anyone who can guess which series, and bonus points for identifying the people speaking!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monkeys in the bed and the little one said...

Roll Over! Roll Over!

A HUGE Monkey milestone - on Friday, September 5 Monkey rolled over! He was on his back on his play mat and propelled himself onto his stomach. Unfortunately, he didn't quite roll clear of the arch and his leg got caught which made him very upset. But a momentous occasion nonetheless. We didn't get it on film, of course, but here is Monkey with a few of his friends:

Dr. Dr. Funny

Why I oughta...

Ka-POW!

Guest instructor at the Training Institute for Soon-to-be Big Brothers

For the record, we didn't even try to fix the red-eye on these. Saving that task for a day with more energy. Thanks to our readers who fixed that last photo, though!!!

The Zoo Review: Swings, Seats, Soothers and Carriers

Since we have several friends whose parenthood is imminent, and we have more friends who are interested in purchasing gifts for other people of imminent parenthood, we thought we'd review some of our favorite parenting gear. We're starting with the go to, every day workhorses: swings, seats and carriers. We are babywearers (you can find more of them here) and the benefits for Monkey's development combined with the beauty of two free hands and a quiet baby have won us over completely. However, there is only so much one's back can take, and there are times (like diaper laundry day) when having a soothing and safe place for Monkey somewhere other than your chest is really helpful. We've listed cons for each of the items reviewed here, just because no product is perfect and so often negative reviews are more helpful than the positive ones. But we love (or like) and use all of these things:

Graco Lovin' Hug Swing - This is a lifesaver, and our only weapon against the colicky screaming. The link is the model we have, without the head bumper insert thingy. It may have had it at one time, but we don't know since we bought it at our local used kid's stuff store for about half of the going price. Whoever left it there didn't use it much if at all, and we're really not sure why. There are 6 swing speeds, a variety of white noise and nature sounds, and several music options. Very handy for our particular Monkey is the one handed recline option, where you can adjust how far back the seat tilts. On bad reflux days (like we've been having lately) sitting all the way up is the best. Once he's napping in the seat bumping it down a notch or two will keep that pesky German head from rolling around too much. It's pretty portable, even with Monkey in it, and easy to get in and out of. We have it in a corner of the living room and it's not too conspicuous. Cons: It runs on batteries, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but we use rechargeables (D size) and putting them back in the charger is now part of our nightly routine. I don't know if regular batteries would last longer or not, but we're not going to find out. Also, when you go to unhook the restraints, they kind of... explode from the central latch. Which is fine if he's awake, a little startling if he's still sleeping. The tray is attached to the swing, so there's no way to remove it which is kind of weird. It also has little holes for their 'Mix N Move' toys which look strange without a toy in them. It kind of makes you want to go out and get some, since the open slots are right there for them. So far, we've resisted this urge.

Fisher Price Papasan Infant Seat: This was a baby shower gift, and totally helped us through those first few weeks. We still revisit it when he's not in full blown screaming mode, but as he's getting older (bigger?) it's not as soothing as it once was. Some babies conk out in them immediately, but Monkey found it less than hypnotic. Excellent for keeping him chilled out when you need 10 or 15 minutes of hands free time (like a shower), but you probably shouldn't push it farther than that. It's very lightweight and Mrs. Zookeeper was able to pick it up and move it with Monkey strapped in within a week or two of the c-section. Also runs on batteries (C) and we made it quite awhile before the non-rechargeables gave out. Cons: We're not big on introducing Monkey to every shiny-flashing-music playing toy out there, but gosh darn it if he didn't love the music track on this thing. It's not the worst ever, but the organ-y rendition of 'Beautiful Dreamer' will haunt you for days. Also, there's a timer on it, so it will turn it off completely after a certain amount of time. Like, right when you're putting conditioner on your hair. So again, more useful when you're not at the total meltdown stage. Some assembly is required, and it was too much for us when we first came home from the hospital. Thankfully Grandpa T was available.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets:
Mrs. Zookeeper grabbed one of these at a Baby Expo a few months prior to Monkey's arrival, and buying more of them was probably the first purchase we made for Monkey after he got here. They are made of a lightweight muslin so they aren't too hot (overheating increases the risk of SIDS) and are a perfect square and are much bigger than your average receiving blanket. Even as parents to the most adorable tiny peanut ever we couldn't get a good swaddle with the other blankets - they aren't square and were mostly too small. Monkey's ability to fall asleep is often impeded by those pesky little arms swinging about unexpectedly, and these blankets neutralize that issue. They're also soft and go right in the wash. Cons: Even those these are all over the parenting interweb sites, we can't get them locally. But Babies R Us had them at a good price and shipped them quickly. You'll have to buy them in packs of two or four, and not all the patterns are in stock.

Hotslings Carrier: This is super handy and quick, so it's our fave for trips to the grocery store and errands. It also fits nicely in the diaper bag so it's not a big deal to carry it with us. Monkey likes to ride facing out, which lets him flirt with all the tellers and clerks and people passing by. There are a variety of carrying options although we've only used two and experimented with one other, but they include a dvd of instructions and a booklet so we can figure those out as he is older. It also comes in a lot of great patterns and is available in the store at Target, so yay for that! Thanks to this little sling Monkey can enjoy a meal in the aisles at Kroger with no one the wiser, which earns it huge points. Washes in the machine just fine. Cons: It's sized, so this is a Mrs. Zookeeper only device. They come in Mr. Zookeeper sizes and fabrics, but we haven't ordered one. Monkey has a tendency to get fussy in it if it's hot out, and it can be a little hard to get him in there right when you're in the parking lot trying to hurry. Long trips can result in some tired back muscles, since this is an asymmetrical design.

Moby/Sleepy Wrap: These are a must have in our book. We have been borrowing a Sleepy Wrap from Aunt A and Uncle N, but we also received a homemade wrap like a Moby as a babyshower gift. They both are worn almost daily around here, and since they aren't sized either Zookeeper can wear them. Monkey loves to be in them and usually falls asleep very quickly if he's facing in - super cozy and easy on the wearer too. Mr. Zookeeper usually carries him facing out, and again with the Monkey flirting, although he falls asleep pretty quickly in it. Very easy to readjust and we are very fast at getting him in and out. You can tie it a bunch of ways and carry in lots of positions - Moby even lists exercises you can do while wearing it on their website. Cons: The Sleepy Wrap has lycra in it, so while it's stretchier (and longer than our other one) it gets hot faster. They both can get a little sweaty with so much fabric, but you can rearrange it pretty easily for better ventilation. It takes a try or two to get the hang of the tying, but it's not difficult. You don't really want to do it in a parking lot though, as the fabric can dangle on the ground. If you don't have a baby in it, but you're wearing it anyway because it's kind of a hassle to take it on and off, you might look a little ... different. Even with the baby in them they often confuse people, but once they figure it out we have had nothing but appreciative comments and outright envy. These are so comfortable and easy to wear (lots of fabric = lots of even weight distribution) that we actually do wear them out places and to heck with fashion. This is more a concern for the ladies, because apparently there is nothing more attractive than a handsome man wearing his adorable baby. Be forewarned.

Bumbo Baby Sitter: This is cute, doesn't take up much space and is very lightweight. It was too big at first but he fits in it okay now. He doesn't enjoy it much, though. I think because it puts too much pressure on the tummy area and that irritates the reflux situation. We also have the play tray, and we're hoping to get some more use out of it in the upcoming weeks. We would really like him to like it... just hasn't happened yet. Cons: See above.

Boppy Pillow: This is pretty handy, especially in those first few days. We use it mostly for sitting him up in his playpen, but it's useful for nursing and snuggling too. There are a million cute covers, you can buy it anywhere, #1 parenting product blah blah blah. We like it fine, we're just not in lurve with it. It does seem to be pretty flexible size wise, and it's much more substantial than the dinky hospital pillows so it's a great item to throw in the trunk of the car before baby arrives. Cons: The covers are washable but the pillow itself not so much. It's kind of a strange size and shape, so it just lives in the playpen because it doesn't really fit neatly anywhere else. Good for the couch, though. You just have to get it out of the playpen and put it there. Also, no back support or pockets, like some of the other nursing pillows have.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

:)

Monkey has been very busy this week with several rather hard to photograph milestones - figuring out how to hit his toys with his hand and having some rather lengthy and riveting conversations with the Zookeepers. All this while mourning the end of pool season and chewing on his hand. We've been specifically attempting to capture that smile that we're seeing so much more of (often accompanied by laughter!), but we haven't been entirely successful. For instance:






So while we are successful at keeping Monkey entertained, we're not always successful at capturing that moment in pixels. We'll keep trying. (If anyone can fix the red eye on that last one, please let us know!)