18 months

And here, before we know it, I have an 18-month-old. When did that happen?

K and j in the grass

My dear sweet little boy, every day you are a wonder to me. You have the greatest smile, and you flash it at everyone, those blue eyes sparkling. That being said, you’re a bit shy when you meet new people. Your favorite thing to do right now is practice walking. You’re not walking on your own yet, but I swear you’re only days away from it. You want to keep holding my hands while walking even though you don’t need to, and I hope with all my heart you have that tendency until you’re 18 years old (or your entire life, that’s ok too). You think chasing the kitties around the house is great fun, and you’re most ticklish under your armpits. You love fruit of any kind, especially grapes and blueberries.

Cutest legs

You are developing a sense of humor, and you’re also getting good at pushing your parents’ buttons! You are quiet in public, and very bubbly and talkative at home. You can say “mom,” “dad,” “ball,” “dog,” and “all done.” You love our strolls around the neighborhood (and soon you’ll be doing the walking yourself!). You also love hikes in the backpack, and you love looking around at the trees as we walk the trails. All your friends are girls right now since that’s what everyone else seems to be having, but that just means you’re already a ladies man. You like to climb the stairs to the slide at the playground yourself, and already you like going down the slide by yourself. You’re tall, almost half as tall as I am. You’re cautious. You love hugs and cuddling up (and turning the pages) when we read books before bed. I love you my darling boy, so very very much.

 

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6 months

Today our son is 6 months old. When the heck did that happen?

It’s been a very interesting 6 months. It feels like it took forever, but it also feels like it happened in the blink of an eye. Six months ago, we were sitting in a hospital with our brand-new son. He would have to stay in the hospital for nearly a week, since he was a month premature and needed a little help breathing the first day after his birth, then he needed some help learning to nurse, then he needed help getting his bilirubin levels (which cause jaundice) down to normal. Six months ago Jonathan had two very nervous parents.

Six months later our son is sitting up on his own (though he’s still a bit wobbly). He’s starting to have an interest in toys. He likes being read to and enjoys looking at the pictures. He’s learning to love being in the hiking backpack (which is a good thing since we plan to hike frequently this summer). He’s going to start solid foods (well, mushy foods) in the next day or two. Jonathan’s parents are less nervous now, but still learning a lot every day about being parents.

We are so thankful for this little boy. I’m a firm believer that God puts the people a person needs in his or her life. Shawn and I needed this baby, this easygoing, smiley, beautiful baby. What a wonderful 6 months it’s been.

Advice from the field: Practical tips for new parents (that no one seems to tell you!)

In the past week, I’ve found out that two girlfriends of mine are expecting. How exciting! I’m glad my baby will have friends his age!

These babes on the way got me thinking though about advice I’d like to offer to the new moms. This advice comes mostly from “first-time parent” mistakes and some tricks I’ve learned in the past 10 1/2 weeks. This by no means makes me a pro at being a parent. It’s just some observations I’d like to impart to others.

1.) Breastfeeding is hard work. No seriously. It doesn’t come naturally. It’s something both mom and baby have to learn. And it takes about eight weeks before things really start to click. In my case, Jonathan was using a nipple shield. Premature babies frequently use them because it makes feeding easier. The nurses in the nursery told me to use the shield until Jonathan reached seven or eight pounds. Jonathan reached that point after a month. Keep in mind that’s a month of believing that the silicone nipple shield is what a nipple tastes and feels like. Weaning him off the shield was difficult (but necessary because shields can decrease milk supply and they are a pain in the butt to carry around with you everywhere and keep clean). I started pulling the shield a few minutes after he started eating and gradually allowed him less and less time with the shield until he’d only have it until the milk let down and then he’d have to hook on to the actual nipple. It took until about seven weeks of age for Jonathan to finally wean off the shield. Continue reading