Category: Cody

Happy Second Birthday, Cody!

I am thrilled and also a little bit wistful to announce that Cody is officially two years old, which technically means he’s no longer a baby. How did that happen? It’s just crazy. Since he’s now past the most rapid stage of his development, I won’t be posting updates as frequently anymore, and will probably stick to a once-per-year reflection as he grows.

The past three months, Cody’s personality and his language development have both exploded {in a good way!} He’s becoming such a character, and he’s now saying new words every day. I find myself constantly amazed and delighted by new things he does!

Although he is somewhat quiet and timid in public, he is starting to come out of his shell. He is interacting with other kids and adults more, and he doesn’t get overwhelmed as easily was he used to. His personality at home is very playful, silly, affectionate, generally cooperative, and a bit mischievous.

Some of the silly and imaginative things he does are:

He insists on closing doors, if he notices they are open, and he has to do it by pulling the handle, which he can barely reach. It’s a bit of a process.

He imitates so much of what we do. He’ll copy us crossing our legs, “killing” a spider, dipping food in sauces, tickling {he copies the inchworm and spider fingers we use}, blowing on food to cool it down, exclaiming “hot!” and quickly pulling his hand back if something is hot {we keep him away from things that are hot enough to burn him, of course}

He does silly walks, like walking super slowly, marching, prancing, or doing a waddle-run.

He “sings” and hums, and dances to music.

He hits himself on the head {gently} and falls down. {I don’t know why but it’s funny!}

He has fake “crashes” on his scooter or anything he can ride on, by tipping it over and falling on the floor.

He makes a snoring sound for pretending to sleep.

He pretends his food is a car and drives it around the table before eating it, then says “bye bye car” after he eats it.

He can act sad very convincingly, including dramatic expressions and crying sounds—then he looks up, smiling at our reaction.

He organizes things into categories. We were amazed when he took it upon himself to organize our travel toiletries into piles, such as shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, and even a “miscellaneous” pile.

He demonstrates problem solving skills. Recently, he wanted to go to the park, but we wouldn’t carry him and he didn’t want to walk himself. He led us to the closed garage and pointed until we opened it, then led us to the stroller and wanted to get in. We put him in and he pointed to the park, which we happily brought him to in the stroller. Cory and I were talking and didn’t even realize until later that he had orchestrated a solution to his problem all by himself!

Cody is also very sweet and affectionate. He gives kisses for ow-ies, including his own and others’. He makes a smooch sound when he gives kisses sometimes. He also blows kisses, gives hugs, and loves to snuggle. He sometimes tucks Cory’s or my arm around him when we snuggle at night, we think to prevent us from leaving.

Some of the less cute things he does are head butting, throwing toys and making messes on purpose, biting {he’s bitten three times, not hard enough to leave a mark, and seemingly out of curiosity}, being clingy, and throwing tantrums {almost always when he’s frustrated, tired, or hurting from teething}. All of these behaviors are things we’ve been able to manage pretty well with positive discipline. The clinginess is one of the ones that has been harder to deal with, because it’s partially a part of his developmental stage and need for security. At the same time, he is becoming more independent. He is easier to take places because he will sit in his stroller happily most of the time, or walk around holding one of our hands instead of demanding to be held all of the time.

Overall, Cody is a fairly cooperative boy. I don’t know how much of it is because of our parenting style or his natural disposition, but he generally listens and complies with our requests. Of course, there are times when he is contrary and not in the mood to cooperate, as all two-year-olds can be. Most of the time, though, he loves to help and try to do things for himself. He tries to help us put on his diapers and clothes, buckle him into seats, put groceries in the cart, and so on. As long as we have patience, things go pretty smoothly.

His new skills include running, climbing, walking on his tiptoes, coloring, painting, spinning a top, and riding his new standup scooter. His language skills are developing well, too. He chatters to himself in gibberish a lot more, and is saying a lot of new words. Some of his frequent new words are: uh-oh, bye, ow, paw, no-no, poopoo, booboo, car, door, two, hat, owl, and eyeball. He also can say, in his own way: hi (ha), cheese (chhhzzz), truck/chalk/work (gock), dagger (daga) {of all things}, trash (dash), and straw (sta). He can shake his head for no and nod for yes, and he still uses signs for “milky,” “again,” “more,” “down,” and “all done.” Beyond that, he understands hundreds of words and can identify them by pointing, proving to us that even though he can’t say that much yet, he does comprehend much of what we say.

Some other fun facts about Cody at age two:

For many months, Cody had a problem of stuffing too much food in his mouth at once and then gagging or spitting it out {which we called a “reset”}. Now, finally, he has learned to swallow normally and he’s been eating more as a result! In fact, I estimate that approximately 40% of his intake is from food now, and 60% from breastmilk. That’s great for him!

He is fascinated by whistling {Grandma Kim’s specialty}.

He loves watching movies on his tablet, and he even has preferences. His favorite movie by far is Home, but he also likes all three Toy Story movies, the Lion King, Inside Out, and Penguins of Madagascar to name a few.  Despite the warnings I hear frequently about limiting toddlers’ screen time, Cory and I have adopted a very laidback attitude towards it for now. The truth is, it’s a freaking lifesaver! Cody will happily sit and watch movies while I take showers, prepare meals, get chores done, or even just take a break and relax for a few minutes. Best of all, he is perfectly content in the car now, because we always put a movie on for him. It is amazing. And even though he spends probably more time watching a screen these days than I would like to admit, he also spends a lot of time doing other things like playing, enjoying the outdoors, eating, reading books, and of course sleeping. There are a lot of hours in the day! So I try to not feel guilty about it. He seems to me to be an incredibly smart and well-adjusted kid even with the basically unlimited screen time.

Last but not least, I present the stats! Cody now weighs 24 ½ pounds and is holding steady at 2’8” tall. He has still never had a haircut, because his hair has taken a long time to come in. It’s blonde, thin, and getting pretty long on the sides and back… and I love it! We plan to let it grow. =D

I love my boy so much. Aside from the newborn stage, I think this is my favorite stage yet. He’s so much fun and he delights me with his blossoming personality. I can’t wait to see who he develops into in the months and years to come. <3

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The Baby Years

As Cody’s baby years come to a close, I can look back and say that there are some things I loved so much about this precious time, and other things that I didn’t enjoy quite so much. Here are the top ten things that I will and won’t miss from the first two years of Cody’s life.

  1. I will miss “milk naps.” Those times when he would fall asleep nursing and we would just sit in our chair together. Sometimes I would doze off myself, and other times I would sit and gaze at his sweet, sleeping face, or read a book and enjoy the closeness. Now, he only takes one nap a day and I usually need that time for myself, so when he falls asleep nursing I transfer him to the bed. Eventually, he will stop falling asleep nursing altogether, and after that he will wean completely and our nursing relationship will end. That’s going to be a sad day for me! Luckily, that’s not happening yet, since we’re planning to keep nursing as long as we both enjoy it. But I will miss those milk naps!
  2. I will miss being able to easily hold him in my arms. He’s already outgrown baby-wearing, and I miss that. Eventually, he will be too heavy to hold for more than a few minutes, and he’ll be more independent and won’t want to be held often anyway. I am so going to miss those full-body snuggles when I’m holding him tight and gently rocking him before bedtime.
  3. I will miss rocking him to sleep. Although this was often Cory’s job, I have also enjoyed countless occasions of rocking my sweet boy to sleep. Usually these days, he falls asleep snuggling with daddy in bed, and rarely wants to be rocked any more.
  4. I will miss his little baby clothes. Some things they just don’t make for kids past infancy, like onesies and rompers. Or if they do, it’s a little bit odd. Either way, his clothes are getting bigger and they’re just not as cute in my opinion.
  5. I will miss spending almost all of my time with Cody. Eventually, we will have another baby and Cody will have to share my attention. As he grows older, he will want to do more independent activities as well.
  6. I won’t miss having very little time to myself. I will enjoy being able to leave Cody with a babysitter and go out with Cory for a date night more often. I will enjoy being able to get stuff done around the house without watching Cody as closely, or having him clinging onto me.
  7. I won’t miss changing diapers. Even though we’ve saved a ton of money by using cloth diapers, I won’t miss the constant laundry, or the unpleasant chore of cleaning older-baby poop off diapers, or even just changing them in general. It will be so nice to have a potty-trained child who takes care of his own elimination needs!
  8. I won’t miss nighttime wakings. A full 8-hours of uninterrupted sleep? Oh my heaven. I can’t wait. (On the other hand, I won’t have to miss co-sleeping, because we’re not stopping that! We love sharing a bed with our little guy, and can’t wait to {safely} add another little one to our {huge} family bed, whenever that may happen).
  9. I won’t miss drool, spit-up, and boogers. Yes, I know older kids still puke on you sometimes, but for the most part, the amount of bodily fluids seems to taper off significantly. That’ll be nice.
  10. I won’t miss being unable to communicate verbally with my child. When he can finally talk, I think it will be a big step up. On the other hand, I’ve been told that once they start, they never stop. So there’s that… plus, I also hear that communication may come to a halt once again during the teenage years. 😉 But for a while at least, I think it will be an improvement!

So there you have it. I have loved the baby years, but there are definitely positive changes ahead. Onward through our parenting adventure!

Happy 21 Months Birthday, Cody!

On Saturday, Cody turned 21 months old. That means he’s in his very last season of infanthood! How crazy is that?

In many ways, Cody is acting more and more like a child and less like a baby these days. In other ways, he’s still a baby and I’m enjoying those things as much as I can because I know they will be gone soon. Here are some of the highlights of what Cody has been up to for the past 3 months.

Cody is officially done with his baby shots. He won’t need any more vaccinations until he’s 5 years old, which is refreshing! He now weighs 23 pounds and is 32 inches tall, which is small for his age but not alarmingly so (he has slender parents and a short mom, after all). He’s been eating more solid foods slowly but surely, though for now he’s still almost exclusively eating foods from the grains and dairy food groups. He still nurses often, and I haven’t noticed a decrease in the frequency over the past year or so. We have no plans to wean anytime soon. Although some people may find it odd to nurse past infancy, our nursing relationship is very comfortable and important to both of us. Plus, it’s good for him!

He still naps once a day for about 2-3 hours in the early afternoon, which I so appreciate. Those nap times are important times for me to get stuff done and recharge. His bedtime is around 8:30, but he can sometimes take up to an hour to fall asleep. We put him to sleep by nursing, followed by rocking, then snuggling in bed. He’s still sleeping in our bed, by our own choice, because we love co-sleeping. As with nursing, we have no plans to end that any time soon, despite the fact that he still wakes up frequently at night to nurse, around 3 times. While it’s possible he would be sleeping through the night in his own bed by this age, we can’t know that for sure, and we treasure the closeness we have with him at night with our current setup. Plus, we all get enough sleep even with minor disruptions for nursing.

Lately, however, it’s been rough because he’s teething and it wakes him up more frequently, and sometimes he wakes up crying, which is not what I like to deal with in the middle of the night. Nursing every 30 minutes to 1 hour isn’t exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep, either. But we all know that this phase will pass, as soon as those second molars finally come in.

Cody is now starting to grow out of his 24 month size clothes, which means he will finally be in true toddler clothes—size 2T! and he will probably need to move up to size 7 shoes (toddler size) pretty soon too. We even have to switch him over to children’s medicines now instead of infant’s. It really hits you from every angle how quickly kids grow up!

Cody’s growing up in other ways, too. He’s good at sharing, often cooperates when we ask him to do things, can follow simple instructions, and tries to help us with simple chores. He also imitates tons of new sounds, from coughing to sound effects for pretend cooking to animal sounds. His favorite sounds are a lion rawr, a dog bark, and of course, vacuuming. (Everything can be used as a pretend vacuum, according to him.)

As much as he’s maturing, he’s also very much a toddler beginning the dreaded “terrible twos.” While this stage has many fun and enjoyable aspects, it also is filled with tantrums, defiance, frustration, random crying spells, unbelievably clingy days, and a bad attitude we sometimes just call “the mood.” A lot of these problems are the result of him being in pain because of teething, and we can tell a lot of it is also an expression of the frustration he’s feeling at being unable to communicate verbally or control his world. It’s not easy being almost-two!

On the other hand, he could be a lot worse. He’s such a sweet, silly, smart, and fun little guy. He loves being the center of attention and doing random goofy things to make us laugh. He gets really excited and giggles when he’s offered a food he likes, such as chocolate or “milky.” He also now uses “dada” and “mama” correctly, and has several different inflections he uses to communicate what he wants. He likes to chatter to himself, and yell and scream for fun. He can identify many people by pointing at them when their names are said, and he understands a great deal of the things we say, even if he can’t talk himself yet.

Some of his favorite things to do are play with water, ride his sit-down “scooter” around the house, play with the dog food, pet the guinea pigs, harass the dogs, play with his toys, and explore outside.

The next time I post a Cody update, he’ll be two years old. How exciting! Before then, I also plan to post a reflection on his baby years, and our experience of this stage of his life before we move on to what’s ahead. 🙂

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Happy 18 Months Birthday, Cody!

This week, Cody turned 1 ½! It’s hard to believe he’s already halfway through his second year. He’s becoming more and more of a “big boy” and less of a baby every day. It’s sad, but also exciting!

Here are some of his impressive accomplishments for the past three months:

He can point out almost 20 different body parts on himself and others when asked.

He can identify himself and others by pointing. (Where’s Cody? Where’s grandma? Etc.)

He can sign “all done,” “again,” “more,” “eat,” and “down,” along with his old signs “dada,” “milk,” and “ball.”

He finally signed “dada” while saying “dada” instead of saying “mama.”

He can follow simple instructions such as “close/open that,” “put that back/down,” “go around,” “don’t touch,” and “go get that.”

He cooperates and helps us with things like getting him dressed, getting him in his carseat, and putting his shoes on.

He sometimes helps clean up his toys.

He tries to play peek-a-boo with his hands and behind curtains or doors.

He is starting to try to use a spoon.

He takes our hand to lead us places.

He gives high-fives, low-fives, and waves bye-bye.

He makes “mmm” noises when he eats a food he likes.

He tries to tickle himself and others.

He imitates “gentle touch” when we use his hand to show him (especially when petting the dogs).

He imitates a lot of the things we do, such as vacuuming, brushing Sky, and cleaning.

He is good at sharing usually. *I hope to explain more about what sharing means for us later.

He tells us sometimes when he goes potty, and likes to practice sitting on his potty chair.

He has peed once and pooped once in his potty chair!

 

Some of Cody’s silly antics lately:

He likes to act goofy and try to make us laugh.

He loves to snuggle and “wrestle” on the couch and bed.

He loves running around the house, playing with the dogs, and exploring outside.

He enjoys bike rides. (He rides in a seat on dad’s bike.)

He prances, basically runs, walks backward, and spins in circles.

He loves to be chased.

He absolutely loves when he has both mine and Cory’s full attention and when we give him kisses and snuggles.

He loves piggy back rides and shoulder rides, and will try to climb on when he wants one.

He sometimes giggles and makes sounds in his sleep.

 

Some of Cody’s challenging behaviors:

He still has clingy days, where he wants to be held A LOT.

He sometimes tests limits and ignores our commands – he’s a toddler after all. 😉

He whines a lot. WORST NOISE EVER.

He can be very aggressive with me and Cory and the dogs.

He can be very demanding about nursing at times.

Physically, Cody’s growth has slowed down a lot, which is fairly normal for this age. I suspect that he’s growing into his body type, which will likely be slender since Cory and I are both slender. His weight at his 18 month checkup was 21 pounds and 10 ounces, and his height was 2’8”. That means he gained only four ounces in the past three months, and he grew just over an inch. He is now in the 16th percentile for weight, 31st percentile for height, and his head is slightly more proportional in the 91st percentile now. Cody has almost all of his teeth, but he’s still working on those second molars. He had a hard week of teething last week, but they haven’t quite come through yet.

Cody is eating a little bit more, but nowhere near a complete diet of food. We offer him bits of whatever we’re eating, but he mostly only eats breads, pastas, cereals, yogurt, cheese, and sweets. He did willingly eat his first vegetable recently, and he fed himself a piece of fruit, too. Generally though, we have to feed him or he will play with and throw his food and not eat any at all. He’s still nursing of course, and the majority of his nutrition comes from my milk.

He’s been sleeping perhaps slightly better during naps and bedtime. He goes down fairly easily for both. Occasionally, he’ll mix things up by skipping his nap altogether or taking it several hours off schedule. Typically, though, he takes his 1 ½ to 3 hour nap around noon. We are pretty consistent about his bedtime being 8:30, which is the time he should be in bed and sleeping. For his naps, I nurse him to sleep most days, or he falls asleep in the car on the way home from our morning activity. For bedtime, I nurse him and then dad rocks him to sleep. At night, he tends to wake up 3-4 times total which at this point is no big deal for me. Being that he sleeps in our bed and nurses back to sleep, the wakings aren’t too disruptive and I feel like I get a good nights’ sleep usually.

Cody is wearing 18 month size clothes, and isn’t ready to move up quite yet, except for his 24 month size plain white onesies which we use as pajamas. He wears “big boy” shoes now with solid bottoms, rather than the flexible shoes he used to wear, and he’s wearing a size 6. We’ve been using cloth diapers less and disposable diapers more now that he needs much less frequent changes and we’re out and about so much more. He wears a size 4 diaper, and I don’t see him going up a size for a very long time, if ever. We will probably potty train him before that.

On the topic of potty training, some people are surprised when they see his potty chair or hear me talking about him using the potty at this age. Typically, potty training doesn’t start until 2 years old or sometimes later. However, what we’re doing isn’t really “potty training” so much as it is simply getting him used to the idea of using the potty and recognizing his bodily processes. We actually call it “potty learning,” and we’ve been very casual about it thus far. Sometimes, between diaper changes or when we’re just hanging out around the house, we let him go diaper-free and encourage him to sit on the potty if he wants to. We’re going to continue doing this for a while and see where it takes us. We’re not in any hurry to potty train Cody before he’s ready—we’re just encouraging him and introducing him to the idea, since he’s shown interest in learning.

That’s about it! He’s adorable as ever, and dare I say things are getting somewhat easier. Or, maybe I’ve just become acclimated to the challenge—sort of like a callus develops over time as a result of agitation. Cody’s certainly given me plenty of agitation, so I must be a callus by now. 😉 As in most cases, I think this “callus” is definitely worth it.

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Happy 15 Months Birthday, Cody!

As of January 16, Cody is officially 15 months old. It’s already been a season since he turned one, and he’s definitely becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby every day.

In the past three months, Cody has demonstrated some very silly, cute, and smart behaviors. The list is long, so here we go:

He likes to do “downward dog,” AKA standing with his butt in the air and looking upside down at things between his legs. He can walk backwards, turn in circles, navigate difficult terrain and get around obstacles, and get up and down steps with little help. He loves to play on the couch and can almost climb on and off of it by himself. He likes to walk around the house with his shoes on—he will bring us his shoes so we will put them on him and then walk around with a satisfied smile. He also likes to walk around with adult shoes on, or put our shoes on his hands, or put things in our shoes. He loves to throw his toys and other things he can get his hands on down the stairs through the rails of the baby gate. He loves to push things, and climb things. He loves to snuggle us, the dogs, and sometimes his toys.

One not-so-cute thing he has learned to do is to hit when he’s angry. He also throws small tantrums, which usually involve him sitting down on the floor in protest. He can cry very loudly when he’s unhappy with us. He also fights going to bed now, I suspect because he doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun.

He often plays with his ears or his “anomalies,” (see my post called The Anomaly if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) He is starting to put his finger in his nose—oh, great! He mimics many things we do, including pretending to eat food and cook in his play kitchen, which we got him for Christmas. He tries to brush his hair and his teeth. He tries to snap his fingers when he sees us doing it. He is starting to wave and say “bye bye.” He understands what “watch your step” means. He picks up pieces of trash and brings them to us, or sometimes to the trash can to throw them away. He gives kisses with his mouth closed, and if you say “kiss” he will lean in. He also gives hugs when asked, sometimes. He loves pointing to everything so we will tell him what it is, including our noses, eyes, mouths, eyebrows, and especially things around the house. He calls me and Cory both “mama,” and sometimes other people too. He tries to sign “mama” and “dada” when he sees us doing it.

He has 14 teeth total now, out of 20 baby teeth that he will most likely have in by the time he’s 2 ½ years old. For now, he has all eight incisors, the top two canines and one bottom canine, and three of his first molars. He’s working on his fourth canine and fourth molar, which are close to coming through. There is no sign of any of his second molars yet, which means we might get a nice little break from teething for a while.

He is eating food finally, in small amounts. He doesn’t usually eat much of the fruits and veggies we give him, at least not yet, but he sure loves bread and chocolate—just like mom and dad! 😉

He still nurses a lot, which ensures that he’s getting the proper nutrition despite his picky eating.

His sleep hasn’t improved much, but it’s to the point of an acceptable imperfection most of the time. He nurses about three to four times each night, but the first time is when I go to bed and the last time is when I’m waking up in the morning, so really he only wakes me up twice at night. He goes to bed between 8 and 8:30, and wakes up sometime between 6:30 to 8. He takes one nap during the day, usually around noon, for about an hour and a half to two hours. Occasionally, he still takes a super long three hour nap, which is a nice treat for me!

He weighs about 22 pounds and is about 29 inches tall.

One of the best changes we’re starting to notice as he gets older is that he is finally becoming less clingy and less prone to separation anxiety. He lets many different people hold him now, including people he doesn’t know that well. We can even leave him with trusted people for short periods of time, perhaps up to an hour, without him crying. Progress! We’ve had two date nights in the past three months that have been really refreshing for us. 🙂

That’s it for now! We’re doing well and Cody’s growing into a happy, smart, sweet little boy.

 

 

Milky Monster

My son has always been very non-textbook. Baby books and online information tend to give lots of basic timelines about when babies do certain things in their lives, as well as other things that babies “should” do. They should start to sleep through the night between 3 and 12 months, but usually by 6 months. They will be ready for solids at 6 months. They should start teething around 6 months and get two teeth at a time every month or so. Yada yada yada. It’s all lies!

The reality is that there is practically no “normal” with babies because they are so very different and individual. There are easy babies, high-need babies, and babies in between, and within those “types” there are countless variations when it comes to everything from personality, sleeping habits, and eating habits, to developmental milestones and anything else you could think of. The point is, babies are all different. Yet a ridiculous amount of time and worry is spent over comparing babies to the non-existent normal.

For me, the biggest “concern” right now is Cody’s diet. He is still almost exclusively breastfed, by his own choice and in fact, insistence. He’s all about the milk! We offer him soft foods and finger foods, and occasionally even puréed baby food, multiple times a day. He will play with it, mush it, throw it, feed it to the dogs, and even taste it, but he never gets serious about really eating it. In American and modern culture, babies are often weaned completely off of breast milk or formula by 12 months, so having a baby who is now over 13 months and hasn’t even truly started solids is somewhat disconcerting. Yet from the beginning, I’ve been told over and over that breast milk is a baby’s perfect food—I have a hard time buying that suddenly at 6 months, it’s not enough, especially considering that babies were designed to nurse for much longer than that.

Although I’m not incredibly concerned personally, because I know that Cody’s doing just fine, I sometimes start to worry or feel impatient anyway. These feelings stem from two main sources: social and cultural influences, and my desire to have another baby.

When people, from extended family to other moms, hear that Cody is still exclusively breastfed, they often react with shock and concern. Reading the aforementioned baby books and online information makes it seem like Cody is another species of baby so rare that it’s not even worth mentioning him. And while my pediatrician happens to be fairly mellow and reasonable, I have to expect that by our next appointment when Cody is most likely still not going to be eating solids, even he will start to be worried. Everywhere I look, I feel like I’m being told that something is wrong with this situation.

Because I firmly believe breast milk continues to be the perfect food for babies past 6 months and even a year, I’m still pretty much at peace with Cody’s unique timeline. Those voices around me do sneak into my head sometimes, but for the most part, I don’t worry. But where I’m truly starting to feel impatient is in the arena of wanting another baby. Because Cody is not only still nursing, but nursing full-time, it is extremely unlikely for me to be able to get pregnant at this time. And although originally Cory and I had planned to have a four year age gap between our children, ever since Cody was born and we’ve watched him grow so fast over the past year, we’ve wanted another one sooner. Well, be careful what you wish for I guess, because at this rate Cody won’t be weaned until he’s 2 or 3, and we may end up with an almost 4 year age gap after all. =J

In the end, I am committed to respecting Cody’s timetable. I do not want to cut him off in terms of nursing, nor do I want to kick him out of our bed at night, which means that nursing will likely continue for quite a while longer, especially at night. (Which also means he probably won’t start sleeping through the night anytime soon either). That’s okay though—he needs as much milk as be can get until he’s ready to start eating solids for real. Even though we want another baby, I care even more about giving the very best to the one we have already. This is what he needs from me right now, and I’m happy to give it. <3

 

P.S. I’m hoping to post again soon about my take on the nutritional completeness of breast milk, and what if any supplements really are necessary, so stay tuned for that!

The Anomaly

When Cody was born, the doctors were worried at first. Doctors worrying over things that don’t need to be worried over is nothing new, of course. But in this case, they were worried because of a small birth defect they noticed. He had some trouble breathing when he first came out, and they thought that he may have had a defect in his trachea because of the defect that they could see on the side of his neck. Of course, everything turned out to be fine, and there is nothing wrong with his trachea. He was simply born with a little, benign growth on his neck and another smaller one next to his ear.

Cory and I have never been too concerned over his “skin tag” as we used to call it. We didn’t think it was a problem (and we were right), so it took us 10 months or so to get around to taking him to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist to get it officially checked out, as recommended by Cody’s pediatrician. When we finally did take him, the doctor almost immediately told us what it was—a second branchial cleft anomaly. He recommended surgery to remove it, preferably (for him, the surgeon) soon.

When we got home, of course, I researched as much as I could about his “anomaly.” It didn’t take long for me and Cory to decide that no, we would not be putting our infant through surgery to remove it. As it turns out, these things are benign and the only reason for removing them is because of the possibility of infection. Well, if and when it becomes infected, that is when we will consider the necessity of surgery. The idea of Cody having surgery made me so anxious, it was a huge relief when we decided against it, at least for the time being.

But I was still confused about one thing. In my research on second branchial cleft anomalies, I found over and over again that they come in three forms: cysts, sinuses, or fistulas. Basically, when the baby is developing in the womb there are branchial clefts that develop into different parts of the inner face and neck. This particular defect occurs when the second branchial cleft doesn’t develop quite right. It can appear as a cyst, which is a fluid-filled lump under the skin, or as a sinus, which is a sort of groove in the tissue of the neck, or as a fistula, which as far as I understand it is a tube-like passageway (fistulas are extremely rare, apparently). The problem for me was that Cody’s “anomaly” was not any of these things. It’s like a large skin tag, not filled with fluid, and it has cartilage at the base. He also has a smaller skin tag right in front of his ear on the same side. None of the material I read on second branchial cleft anomalies included what looks like a skin tag or a growth as a possible form.

I put the issue aside for a long time, but today I was curious so I did some more research. It took me a very long time to find it, but I finally found out that Cody’s birth defect isn’t exactly a second branchial cleft anomaly, or at least not a typical one, but it’s actually called a— (get ready, this is a mouthful)— cervical chondrocutaneous branchial remnant with an associated preauricular tag. Let’s break this down, shall we?

“Cervical” means neck, “chondro” means cartilage, “cutaneous” means skin, and “branchial remnant” refers to the whole embryonic development mishap in the branchial cleft that I explained before, resulting in an “anomaly” or unusual formation. Altogether, it’s a perfect description of Cody’s growth. They are also most common in boys, always congenital (present at birth), and often come with another related defect. The skin tag next to Cody’s ear is commonly associated with these branchial remnants, and it’s called “preauricular” meaning “in front of the ear.” For an extremely rare and largely undocumented birth defect, Cody seems to be a textbook example.

Although I’m not sure why these types of anomalies aren’t mentioned in any of the research I found on second branchial cleft anomalies, from what I can tell, it still is one. Which means this information doesn’t change anything, except that it gives me more understanding and peace about it. Having a name for it, and knowing that yes, it is in fact benign, is very comforting for me.

I wanted to write this because I thought it was interesting, and also because there may be parents out there whose children have the same thing that Cody has, and who are frustrated by the confusing information on the internet (and possibly from their own doctors) about what exactly it is. So now you know! Yay, information!

The comforting reality is that these “anomalies” are not a health problem unless they become infected. Cysts, which contain fluid, can often become infected, but this a chondrocutaneous remnant, made up of cartilage and skin, not a cyst. Realistically, the only reason to have them removed is for aesthetic purposes. To put a baby through surgery for such a minor aesthetic purpose seems strange to me, but I’m not here to judge other parents for their choices. For me and Cory, though, we have decided that since there is no health risk, we aren’t going to have surgery for Cody until he is old enough to decide for himself. If, when he’s older, he feels self-conscious about it and wants to have it removed, we will support that. Honestly, it is my hope that we can raise him with enough confidence to not be bothered by it. But again, if having it removed will make him feel better about himself, I can live with that too. For now, I think he’s perfect just the way he is. 🙂

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Happy First Birthday, Cody!

I am officially the parent of a one year old! What a fun year we’ve had with our little mischief-maker.

Cody has been developing his personality even more in the past month. He’s such a silly, smart, curious, and affectionate boy. He loves to snuggle, climb all over us, give us hugs and kisses, sit in our laps, and be held. He enjoys his bath time, especially now that he has free range of the entire oversized bath tub, so we’re back to bathing him almost every day now. After his bath at night, he usually gets extremely hyper and starts acting super silly and wild. Fortunately, he usually calms down in time for bed and falls asleep pretty easily.

He’s still extremely clingy, especially around new people or in crowded places. Some days, it’s still hard for me to even get ready in the morning because he cries every time I put him down! Usually, I have to get ready in small increments and hold him to calm him down in between. He’s also been becoming more particular about me holding him even when Cory’s home and available. It can be pretty frustrating, and it makes Cory feel a bit sad sometimes. Fortunately, Cody isn’t that clingy towards me all of the time, and he still always wants his daddy to hold him as soon as he gets home from work. Even when he is being particularly clingy, I try to focus on balancing my own needs for sanity, taking care of myself, and resting with meeting his need for closeness. Sometimes it has to be okay for him to whine or even cry in the loving arms of another caregiver, so I can get some things done and have time to myself. On the other hand, I also understand and care about his developmental need for security, which often translates into lots of love and holding from his mommy.

He plays a lot of silly games with us now. One game we play is chasing him on our hands and knees and saying “I’m gonna getcha!” He gets this manic smile on his face and toddles away until we corner him, then turns around and waits for us to snatch him up and tickle him. He also likes to play a game where he hides behind us while we’re sitting on the floor, and we pretend not to know where he is. Then he comes into view and we act surprised to find him. One other game he plays lately is “pushing” me around the house—he pushes on my legs and directs me where to go. He thinks it’s even funnier if I say, “Push! Push!” while he’s doing it. So silly!

He’s been signing “milk” more and more, and he definitely understands what it means when I ask if he wants “milky.” He also understands a lot of other things we say. He knows that when we say “watch your head” that he should duck or be careful because he’s close to hitting his head on something above him. He knows what “hug” and “kiss” mean, and we know he understands “clap your hands.” We made up a song to keep him from crying when we change his diaper, which is basically “If You’re Happy And You Know It” but with slightly different lyrics, and a few weeks ago, he started to clap his hands whenever we sing the song, especially when we get to the “clap your hands part.” He’s such a smarty! I’m sure there are many, many other words he understands that we don’t even realize yet.

As far as sleep goes, his naps have improved but his night time sleep is still not good. We finally decided to give up on his schedule because he started fighting his naps so hard and it was a battle every time we tried to put him to sleep. Instead, we started allowing him to play until he fell asleep on his own, usually while nursing, being worn in the carrier, or in the car. It turns out that he was ready to transition to one nap per day, and now he’s fairly predictable in taking his nap around 11 or 12 each day. He sleeps anywhere from an hour and a half to a heavenly two and a half hours—a couple times, we’ve even gotten a three hour nap out of him! The best part is that there is absolutely no fighting or frustration over naps anymore. He goes to sleep when he’s tired, and he sleeps much more soundly. Whereas before, on his schedule, we would almost always have to help him fall back to sleep sometime during his naps, now he often stirs and falls back to sleep on his own or simply doesn’t have any wakings. Occasionally he still needs us to snuggle him back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of a nap, but it’s much rarer now.

As far as bedtime goes, we try to let him fall asleep on his own, but we have a limit of 8:00 PM. If he’s not asleep by then, we will try more actively to put him to sleep. Usually nursing or a few minutes of rocking will do the trick. He’s been choosing this option more and more these days, which isn’t as easy for us, but it’s still so much less stressful than the 20 minutes or more we used to spend trying to coax him to sleep every night.

He still wakes up around four to five times a night to nurse, although he rarely needs to be rocked in the middle of the night anymore. There are still occasional nights (such as last night) where he has a really hard time sleeping and ends up crying and needing a lot more from us to get through the night. Often, this is caused by teething, and usually a dose of infant ibuprofen does the trick. Still, those nights really suck. And even on “good” nights, I long for the night sometime in the future when I will be able to sleep for eight hour straight—or even seven! Even six! Heck, I think even five hours straight would be heavenly at this point. I have my suspicions that Cody will only start sleeping through the night after he’s weaned, or at least almost weaned.

Speaking of weaning, Cody is still nowhere remotely close as he is still exclusively breastfed. He occasionally eats a few bites of my yogurt, or a few sips of a smoothie, or a few licks of whatever food we’re eating (he will lick solid food, but not take bites yet). Still, he is a long way from getting any of his nutrition from solids. Fortunately, I still treasure our nursing relationship, and he’s still thriving on my milk, so there’s really nothing to be concerned about in this area, as uncommon as it may be. He’ll start eating real food when he’s ready. 🙂

For his birthday, we had a small party with family and it was lots of fun. It was an important day for me and Cory, to celebrate our little man’s first year of life, and even though Cody won’t remember it, we definitely will. Never again will we celebrate our first’s first birthday! It was definitely special to us.

That’s about it! From here on out, I’m planning to do updates about every three months instead of monthly. Thanks for reading and following our journey as a family!

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Happy 11 Months Birthday, Cody!

Well, it’s official. This is Cody’s last month as an under-one-year-old. Is that a thing? Maybe not, but I just made it up, so it is now.  =P

This month, Cody has been developing his personality more and more. He’s become very silly, and even more affectionate, curious, and strong-willed. He’s always making me laugh with his antics, and sometimes he’s so cute I just want to dissolve into a puddle and call it a day. It’s also definitely time to start some gentle, positive discipline for him, because he’s quite the mischief-maker and he already likes to test the limits! We’re working on being gentle (he thinks it’s funny to hit me with his toys) and not getting into the dog food and water bowls. He clearly knows what it means when I say “no,” and surprisingly, he can be very good at obeying sometimes. Other times, he ignores me and throws a fit when I step in to enforce the rules. So far, his behavior is nothing too difficult to handle, so that’s a good thing. He’s also generally pretty well behaved in public, although honestly at this age, there isn’t really any such thing as “misbehaving”; he’s still a baby, after all. But I haven’t experienced any tantrums in public or anything like that yet, so that’s nice. =]

Cody’s walking like a pro now, and he’s able to get up from sitting on his own as well as bend down to pick things up while walking, turn around easily, and step over things. He seems much happier in general now that he can get around by himself, but he also gets bored more quickly now. The house must seem a lot smaller now that he can walk from one end to the other in under a minute!

He’s starting to seem more interested in talking now. He signed his first sign, “milk,” a couple of weeks ago but hasn’t done it again after the first few times. We’re signing more and more to him now that we know he’s ready to pick it up. He also says the word “ba,” which to him means “ball,” his favorite toy. He doesn’t say “dada” very often for some reason, though sometimes he will say “baba” instead, and he still says “mama” usually only when he’s crying and wants me. He studies our mouths when we say words even more now, though, and it’s obvious that he understands a lot of what we say even if he can’t repeat it.

He does a lot of silly, cute things these days. He’s become very interested in pointing at things. He still loves music and likes to dance, and now he has a few more moves including the head shake, the arm flail, and the stomp. We like to play baby hide and seek with him, where we hide around the corner and call to him until he finds us. He always has the biggest smile on his face when he sees us. He also knows how to clap his hands now, which he thinks is very exciting. In general, he likes to mimic actions that we do, and he’s learning a lot through imitation. One thing he does which I find funny is dropping his toys over the baby gates, as if by doing so he will be allowed to go on the other side to retrieve it. So far, it hasn’t worked out in his favor. =J Although I will admit, we frequently end up playing fetch for him.

Although Cody is still almost exclusively breastfed, we do offer him tastes of whatever food we’re eating most of the time, and occasionally he will try it. So far, he has really enjoyed my homemade chocolate yogurt, and fruit popsicles. That’s about it, for now, but I’m sure he’ll start eating more in the months to come. As far as drinking goes, he can drink from a sippy cup, as well as from a regular cup with help. Usually he just drinks water, though not much since my milk provides pretty much all of the hydration he needs. I’ve also let him try a few sips of juice.

His sleep is better in some ways, but not much improved in other ways. He doesn’t fight me over his naps anymore, and he’s been napping really well lately. He also goes to bed fairly easily, but still wakes up a lot at night to nurse. Sometimes, especially in the past week or so, he will literally nurse all night long and only wake up to switch sides. It’s not as restful as I would like my night’s sleep to be, but it’s not the worst thing in the world either. I know it will pass soon, anyway.

That’s pretty much everything for the past month. I know his birthday is going to be here in a flash, and as crazy and depressing as it is to see him growing up so fast, I’m also excited. There are many fun things ahead for us!

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Happy 10 Months Birthday, Cody!

Cody’s first year is coming to a close, and he’s truly becoming more of a toddler than a baby now. I’m starting to want another baby now, because I miss those days! But at the same time, Cody has our hands full for the moment.

He is officially walking on his own. Just a few days before he turned 10 months old, Cory and I were playing with him and he suddenly just stood up by himself and walked a few steps to Cory. I was so excited! Since then, he has slowly but surely been growing more and more confident in his ability to walk unassisted. He still likes to use our hand for security sometimes, but yesterday and today he has been letting go more and more, and sometimes he won’t even take our hand if we want him to. Our boy is becoming more independent every day, which is both exciting and saddening.

One of his new silly antics this month is dancing. When there’s music playing, or any rhythmic sound, he sometimes will start bouncing up and down by bending his knees. He’s learning the white-boy shuffle at an early age! He also likes to bounce when he’s sitting on his bottom, and when we’re holding him.

Cody enjoys going in the pool with us, playing with our dogs and our cat, exploring the house and new surroundings, getting into anything new or interesting, watching older kids play at the park or the play place we like to go to, and staring at people. His favorite toys are balls of any size, and his favorite game is playing fetch with himself—picking up a toy, throwing it, walking to get it, and repeating that over and over again.

He is now in toddler clothes (12 months size), which involve mostly t-shirts and shorts rather than onesies. He looks like such a big boy in his new clothes! At night time though, we put him in a onesie for bed, so I still get to feel like I have a baby. 😉

For about a week, he cooperated very well with eating baby food and one time he even ate an entire jar (it was an extra-small jar, but still). But after that one week, he went back to refusing to eat solids, and now we’ve decided to let that be. He’s on an iron supplement now, and other than that my milk provides everything he needs until he’s older than one year. We’ve decided to do baby-led weaning, allowing him to eat baby-appropriate solids as he shows an interest in them rather than worrying about trying to force-feed him baby food.

His sleep has been up and down. By most standards, it’s still pretty bad but by our standards it’s actually been good for the past few days. He wakes up about 3-5 times per night to nurse, and nurses back to sleep, then usually needs to be rocked back to sleep when he wakes up at 6 AM to get that extra hour in. He’s doing well with his schedule, and usually naps for at least an hour during both of his two daily naps. He goes to bed around 8 PM and wakes up around 7 AM. Sometimes he goes down easily, in anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes with very little crying; but other times, he fights sleep tooth and nail, and cries for up to 40 minutes before he finally goes to sleep or I give up. He does a lot better going to sleep for his naps and his bedtime when Cory puts him down, for whatever reason. Weekends are really nice, because Cory takes care of all of his naps!

Last week, I began to suspect that I may be dealing with some delayed onset postpartum depression. I’m not sure, especially because I don’t fit the typical profile or have some of the more common symptoms. I feel very connected and attached to Cody, and I don’t feel weepy or deeply sad most of the time. Instead, I find myself losing patience very easily during the long days with my high-need baby, and sometimes feeling overwhelmed with anger and frustration, particularly when it comes to his difficulties with sleeping. I’ve also experienced guilt because of my anger, and questioned whether I was really meant to be a mother. I’ve felt that I couldn’t handle it anymore and I’ve felt that things would never improve. Those are all symptoms of postpartum depression, which I have discovered can actually begin anytime within a year of birth, or even afterwards. My symptoms are at their worst during the work week, when Cory is at work all day and I’m on my own, and they practically disappear during the weekends and the days when my mother-in-law comes out to help me. For now, I’m waiting to see how I feel in the weeks to come, and I’m planning to see a therapist if things don’t get better.

That’s pretty much the gist of Cody’s 10th month of life. We have wonderful days, and also really hard days, but I’m happy to report that overall he is developing perfectly and he’s a very smart, curious, affectionate, active boy. I love him so much, it’s crazy. <3

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