May 31, 2008

Baby Stats


So I know all of you out there have been on the edge of your seats all week, waiting for the latest stats of everyone's favorite little boy. Sorry to keep y'all waiting. It's been a bit of a rough week. First, the numbers:
Head Circumference: 17.1 inches (88%)
Height: 24.75 inches (50%)
Weight: 13 lbs 5 oz (25%)

Alden was pronounced healthy and happy at his appointment, at least until the shots were administered. In terms of growth, his head still seems to be out-pacing every other part of his body. But the doc we saw on Tuesday seemed a little troubled by his weight. I was too, honestly. I felt sure that he was at least 14 lbs, especially since last week all he wanted to do was eat and eat. So now I feel TOTALLY inadequate as a source of nourishment for our child. I had a hard time getting my supply up fast enough for Alden last week, so I started taking the fenugreek/blessed thistle, pumping between meals, eating oatmeal and almonds 30 times a day, etc. It seems to have worked because I got a whole lot more milk out this week than the previous week at work. Kerstin says Alden is developing a runner's build. Still, Alden continues to grow at a glacial pace compared to his compatriots. Even Evelyn, 5 weeks his junior, has him beat by over a pound. I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong. So I asked the doctor (who was not Alden's normal pediatrician) what she recommended. I was expecting some sort of 'atta girl' pep talk about sticking with the breastfeeding, joining La Leche League, keeping up the pumping and the herbs, etc. Instead the doctor told me that I need to supplement with formula. Say, what?? Have I endured 2 months of painfully raw nipples, near weekly visits to lactation consultants and a persistent sleep deficit for nothing? I considered telling her to go cram it with oatmeal and almonds, but kept my mouth shut instead. She must have noticed my pursed lips though and said something to the effect of "you can't have it all, you know, life is about compromises, especially if you choose to return to work". So now it was all my fault because I had to go back to work? Then she said I could try giving him some rice cereal instead. Everything that I've read says to wait 6 months for that. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. But I've been wondering lately if I'm being a milk snob. Maybe I do need to supplement with something. Maybe he's not thriving because my milk isn't very good. I dunno. Alden always eats till he stops, and he doesn't seem to lack food, except when he spurts... So, we're thinking about adding some rice cereal to his menu in the next week or so.

Karen teaching Alden to bow.

The only noble thing I can attribute to Barbara Bush is her Raising Readers program, where every child in Maine is given a book at every check-up until they are 5 years old. So far we've got about 5 books from this program (you get 3 at birth) and each one has been great... until this month. The 4-month baby book sucks. "I Love Colors" by Margaret Miller. This dud contains large color photographs of (I kid you not) the weirdest looking babies I've ever seen. Each baby sports a brightly colored and somewhat age-inappropriate object. For example, a giant yellow feather boa or purple heart-rimmed glasses. The one on the first page is a bald and toothless 5-month old with Carol Channing lips, a red bow and the manic grin of a meth addict. She seriously creeps me out. I can honestly say that our escrow statements make better bedtime reading than this mess of freaky babes. What's even more shocking is that it won the 1999 "Book of the year" award from Parenting Magazine. Shameful....

May 26, 2008

In Training

"Leon, le petit girafon" - c'est hyper chouette!

Alden spent the day training. Training to sit, training to talk, it was a very learn-a-rific day. We received this mushroom-like foam training seat recently and Alden has just started to figure out how to hold himself up in it. The first time he tried it, he slumped over to one side. Comical, but also very tragic. The seat completely anchors the lower half of the baby, leaving the upper half free to swing in the breeze, if you will. Today he mustered just enough strength to keep himself sort of vertical. And, most importantly, he liked it! I think we are entering a new era.
Alden has also been working hard to produce a new sound. We aren't sure exactly what he's trying to do just yet, but he's started to make this sputtering/sucking noise that he hasn't made before. I could tell by the way his little brain was cranking that he was working something out. He puckered and sputtered for a good half an hour before he got out his first "Boo". He seemed mighty pleased with himself afterwards.
Cow socks kick ass!

May 25, 2008

Computin'

Much to my chagrin, Kerstin decided to introduce our son to Battlestar Galactica. Yes, that cheesy Star Wars rip-off from the 70s. How he found all the episodes online is beyond me, but what was really troublesome was how much Alden was into the show. Terrifying...
Kerstin has been working hard on the attic this weekend, and finally finished it. We've also done a little gardening and lawn mowing. When I say "we", I really mean that Kerstin did it while I watched longingly from the couch, struggling to fill Alden's cavernous stomach. Let's just say I've been less than helpful around the house these days. I'm back to religiously popping fenugreek and blessed thistle pills, but so far, no sign of an increase in milk.
Alden is having more fun playing with toys too. This ball with the tags is one of his faves.

May 22, 2008

Head strong

video

Here is Alden doing his exercises. He seems to be getting bigger and stronger every day. Right now we are experiencing our personal food crisis within our home. Alden's food demand is out-pacing Ilana's food supply. For the past week Alden has been downing 16oz to 21oz per day and production has been slow to ramp up. We've gone into the freezer reserves but once those are gone I guess the little fella will have to eat tacos. I reckon we will consult the pediatrician about this on Tuesday when Alden gets his 4 month evaluation.

May 21, 2008

Imitation....

is the sincerest form of flattery...

Happy 4 months to you too, Ronin!
Glad that you and I have such good taste in jammies.
Love, Alden.

May 18, 2008

First third of a year

Alden is 4 months old! This month saw some fun developments and changes. Here's the latest laundry list:
  1. Hand to mouth neural pathway - firmly established.
  2. Breast milk to earwax anabolic pathway - firmly established.
  3. Thumb sucking (left hand only) - firmly established. This one is really funny because while he sucks on his thumb, he grabs at his face with his available fingers.
  4. Vocalizations - still under development. Other than raspberry noises, he says a few things pretty consistently. "ill-GHEE", "uhn-GHEE", "afweh", "heh, hah, how", and "brgl" are his faves. And, of course, "ilk" still makes an appearance now and then.
  5. Drool. Very well established.
  6. Recognition of his reflection in the mirror. He now smiles and giggles at his reflection. He also recognizes other babies and smiles at them. It's opened up a whole 'nother world of cute. For example, Alden and Evelyn spent the day together yesterday and really started to notice each other for the first time. They stared at one another for a good long while. Alden eventually smiled at her and even had a few things to say. At the end of this courtship, they slept together in our minivan. (Gillian remarked that they are moving awfully fast!). I think it's great that they're starting to bond.

Gillian and Evvie, looking resplendent as ever.

May 16, 2008

Breaking out the new outfits


Alden has officially outgrown his newborn togs. And so, I purged all 0-3 month clothes from his dresser this week and pulled out the gigantic bag of 3-6 month outfits I'd stuffed in the closet back in December. This week was the first time I actually got to check out all the new options, most of which were donations from some very cool friends of ours, the Precourts. I found a few gems in there, including this one, which has rapidly become one of my favorites. The inevitable problem with favorite outfits is that they are the ones that Alden manages to pee all over within minutes of changing. Meanwhile, the ridiculous onesie with the milk stains, football motif and "I play sports with my Daddy" or some such dribble embroidered on the front somehow always manages to go days without being soiled. Life is so unfair.
Alden and his growing belly, looking fetching in his purple diaper.

Alden has also started to really appreciate his stuffed animals. He loves the finger puppets, the crinkly-winged beetle and the Hungry Caterpillar, but is also quite keen on the Lamby, Cinko the Uglidoll and a sleepy looking rabbit in yellow striped pajamas affectionately called Mr. Bun Bun. When he's sporting a crown, all his loyal subjects gather round to heap praise on Alden the Almighty. He does his very best to stuff them into his mouth all at once. It's all very overwhelming for his royal Highness.
Alden developing a taste for mutton. Mmm... lambchops.....

May 11, 2008

Getting off the fruit grid


Besides raising the kid up, we have been doing other things. Most pertinently work on the home and garden. I've been finishing the attic with a better floor and sheet rocking the rafters (to keep the space cleaner and avoid roofing nails poking through the pitch-slope). Even Ilana has trouble supporting me in improving the storage space of the house, so I wont get into it too much. However, we have also been working the grounds and doing a bunch of planting. I've put in eight fruit trees (the golden delicious was already here) and have plans to put in a couple more. I hope to be off the fruit grid in five years. I tilled out another 10 x 20 patch of garden to grow more vegetables, and cleaned up out raspberry patch and blueberry bushes. On a side note, we inherited a complete canning set-up when we bought the house and hope to really get into it this fall...

May 6, 2008

Head's up

We were beginning to worry about Alden's lift-the-head-up milestone. I guess it's something babies are supposed to do around 2 1/2 months, but every time we put Alden on his stomach he fusses and cries. We started using a baby-boppy as part of his training, and it made things a little easier. Little by little he became more comfortable on his stomach. Yesterday he was acctually smiling and lifting his head. Hurray.

May 4, 2008

He's got my nose

Alden being grabbyThis past week started with Alden being particularly upset about something. It only lasted a few days and we're not sure what it was but it's over (for now). I remember hearing something years (decades) ago about the little finger on people's hands being evolutionarily extraneous and that it was shrinking and would eventually 'evolve away'. Whoever came up with that theory obviously never had children. Letting Alden suck on my little finger is often the only thing that calms him when he's cranked. If my little finger were not around, I shutter to think of what would happen to me... or him.. or to us both. I would now rate the little finger as one of my top ten body parts for 2008. For the rest of the week Alden has been his usual charming and mellow self.

Alden has been grabbing stuff like a shoplifter with OCD. He mostly grabs his own hands, and hasn't mastered the fine art of holding for more than ten seconds, but it's really neat to see him make connections - seeing the hand-to-brain-to-eye pathway form.

May 3, 2008

Pictures from Barbara

My mom sent me some photos that she took during Passover and I like them so much that I've posted them here. Kerstin disapproves of my gratuitous use of photos on our blog. ("Get a Flickr site", he says). But I think new photos are really what the Alden fans want to see - if I'm right here, please chime in! Besides, my mom is a great photographer and I'd like to show off her craft. Think of this entry as a vehicle for her art.
Grandma Barbara and Alden. This photo really highlights that 90th percentile head!

We played several rousing games of Boggle in Maryland. My brother Aaron won most of them - curse that brilliant Engineering mind of his! Alden thought the game was a hoot. He was really interested in the pad of paper and thought that writing was really cool, which is great, because it's hard to find grown up activities that can keep me occupied and keep him entertained at the same time. He put up with a whole 45 minutes of play and oohed and ahhed.

Oooh... good word, mom...

I've had a hell of a time getting a good picture of Alden's smile. He smiles all the time, but as soon as I put a camera in front of him, he goes all doe-in-the-headlights on me. I have lots of photos of this look, and while it's achingly adorable, a smile is so much more satisfying to capture for posterity. Enticing, pleading and cajoling him into smiling with a camera in my hands has proven futile so far. Somehow my mom was able to do what I have failed to accomplish - get a well-framed and focused picture of Alden in mid grin. I guess that's why she's the professional.