Archive for September, 2011

11 Months, Gone Like That…

Mason turns 11 months old today. It’s just unbelieveable how quickly time has flown. Cliché, I know, but when you’re a first-time dad, you really notice it.

Mason is crawling like a pro now, and pulls himself to standing quickly and efficiently. He also knows just how to push my buttons, as well as the power of a smile, even when he’s in serious trouble. I can’t be stern with this kid for crawling on the fireplace when hes grinning from ear to ear!

Only a month to go until the big 0-1 for Mason! Holly and I have been planning his birthday party for weeks now. Invitations are out and now the stress of planning all that begins. It’ll all be worth it, though…Mason has such a supportive family and we have great friends, we just want everyone to share the celebration.

Here’s to you, little guy! Now, can you PLEASE eat 3rd stage/solid foods?! Let’s make that a birthday goal…love ya!

WANTED: Infant Feeding Coach & Consultant

Can YOU help this boy? Don't all jump up at once, now...

A Connecticut family is seeking an experienced infant who has accepted 3rd stage and solid foods as daily staples. The chosen child will work 1:1 with our son, who feels tantrums and spitting food is more important than being a big boy.

The ideal candidate will be between 9 and 12 months old, with a broad knowledge of 3rd stage and solid foods. Eating any and all foods presented will be required, as the intention is to lead by example.

Further details of the position are as follows:

  • REPORTS TO:
    – Nearest adult in the household
  • SCHEDULE:
    – Sunday – Saturday, 12:00-12:20 & 5:30-6:00.
  • SALARY:
    – Three Arrowroot cookies per shift, plus all food provided.
  • BENEFITS:
    – Based upon performance, 2 paid naps/play dates per every 3 successful meals (our son consumes all food without tantrum).
    – Diaper changes as needed while on shift.
  • JOB DESCRIPTION:
    – Eat food with a smile
    – Encourage our son to do the same
    – Repeat

If the candidate succeeds and gets our son to accept the next step on the food ladder, we will take the candidate and our son to Disney World to meet Special Agent Oso, Mickey Mouse and other fabulous characters. (Yes, we are that desperate.)

Interested candidates should contact us ASAP via email at desperateparents@justeatit.com. Include a photo and a paragraph with why you feel you will succeed in this job, your favorite color & favorite Disney character and why. We will respond and set up an interview if we are interested.

PLEASE HELP!

Sincerely,

Concerned Mommy and Daddy

Bite Me! A Word on Teething

An early shot of Mason with his first few teeth...the worst was yet to come.

This one has been a long time coming. I’ve kind of forgotten about the fact that Mason is in the midst of teething, probably because until this weekend, he hadn’t cut a tooth in like, three months. Mason began teething a little bit earlier than most babies, he had his first around 4 months old, and by 6-7 months old, he had a fully-fledged front set, four teeth up top, four down bottom. The arrival of these teeth were met with the typical and expected fits of red cheeks, mouth sensitivity and, above all, screaming (Mason’s very favorite activity!). Once the elite eight were set to begin chomping, rice cakes were introduced, along with Mason’s favorite screaming subject, 3rd stage foods.

Aside from the 3rd stage food debacle, all was going well. It was almost like he already had any teeth that were going to come in. I’d occasionally wonder when the next wave was coming, though.

Got my answer this past weekend.

Mason suddenly began losing his appetite for just about anything, and was quickly becoming cranky for no apparent reason. Holly desperately tried to see if he was teething, but Mason has a nasty habit of biting down on anything put in his mouth. Hard. This includes human digits. This time, all was revealed with no prodding needed. Mason has a canine coming in on the bottom set of teeth, and we suspect another one is coming in from the top. These teeth are giving him a pretty bad experience, much worse than any of the others ever had. A few nights ago, nobody slept more than an hour or so at a time, and Holly volunteered to hold poor Mason while he slept…and Holly didn’t. Tylenol did nothing, we had to get infant Motrin to aid with the pain.

Since that night earlier this week, things have slowly adjusted back to normal. Mason is sleeping more soundly and longer again. The new chomper is slowly making its entrance, but it doesn’t seem to bother him so much more now that it’s through the gums. Looks like this saga is on hold, until the next canine decides to rear its ugly face.

P.S. Mason still won’t take well to 3rd stage foods, and I swear he’s trying to use teething as an excuse. Nice try, kiddo. Gotta eat it. Hardball has started.

The 3 B’s of Mobility: Bumps, Bruises & Blood

Clearly, this isn't going to end well...

As I reflected upon in an earlier post, babies don’t just lay there where you want them to for all of eternity. As nerves myelinate and muscles develop, kids want to move. As much as it pains any parents, children will suffer trauma of some type as they learn to crawl, stand and walk. Falling is a natural part of this process. I thought I was worrying enough before Mason began his quest for mobility. Wrong!

Mason has moved beyond just regular crawling…he’s downright danger-seeking. He loves to pull himself to his feet from just about any surface he can reach for, and has even begun shuffling along long surfaces, such as couches and hearths. All of this has developed, literally, in the last three days. For Daddy, that’s too much, too soon. Of course, I have had the camera attached to me face these past few days, getting any shots I can of Mason’s crawling, standing and, in the example above, even catching a fall or two. I should note that as terrible as the above shot looks, he actually managed to hang onto the big green Lego bucket and plopped himself to the floor bottom first (phew!).

It's situations like these that make me lose sleep at night.

It’s been very difficult handling these new ventures as a father. It can’t be said enough times that it’s inevitable that Mason will encounter falls as he explores his world and learns to ambulate. To date, he’s fallen off the hearth (which he is sitting precariously upon in the above photo) a couple of times onto his noggin…not hard, but enough to get him screaming like a banshee. As someone with a background in brain injury certification, any hit to the head makes me cringe, even though I know full well that it would take much, much more than that to do any major damage upstairs (like, say, a stroke from seeing your son teeter on a hearth?). Drool has also become his enemy…every now and then, he’ll be confidently crawling along the hardwood floor when he’ll meet a drool drip with his hand, and flop! Face down he goes. Ouch. Only a cut gum and slight fat lip so far…

It helps to remember that what Mason is going through is happening to millions of babies around the world…if we were all permanently  and adversely affected by falling at early ages, none of us would be fit to drive automobiles, perform medical procedures, or become legislators (still questioning that last one). In time, he’ll be walking (probably before I know it) and the falls will get more dramatic and traumatic on his little body. Then comes tricycles, bicycles, scooters…cars?!…

Oh boy…now I’m definitely not sleeping tonight.

Food Fight! Struggling with Feeding, Part II

Eventually, Mason began to enjoy messy faces!

Continuing the saga of feeding…

So we got through the introduction to rice cereal, and the refusal to eat with a spoon…things were going pretty smoothly to begin with. We knew what Mason liked and didn’t like (though we still pushed on the disliked veggies a bit) and he was accustomed to leaning for the food, swallowing properly, and, yes, spitting out what he didn’t like, sometimes profusely. In other aspects of his development, he was learning to roll over and sit up on his own. According to the cute little icons on the baby food jars, he was ready for “3rd stage foods.”

Well, let me tell you what 3rd stage foods are doing to my family. Tearing it apart!

There’s really little difference between 2nd stage and 3rd stage foods. The fruits are the same, the jar is just bigger. It’s the “entrees” that are different. They are a bit more “grown up” in taste, and unfortunately, texture. The Vegetable Beef from Gerber has actual chunks of corn and beef in it, mixed with the typical puree of broth, peas, carrots and other slop. The texture os Mason’s Achilles heel. Mason spits.The food. Out. Every. Single. Time. To this day (about 4 months of futile attempts, tricks, rewards, etc.), he absolutely refuses to eat 3rd stage foods. And yet, when we introduced solid foods to him about 2 months ago, he dug right in!

NEW LIKES

-Chicken nuggets

-Rice cakes (his clear favorite of favorites)

-Lil’ Graduates Crunchers

-Yogurt (close 2nd to rice cakes)

-Goldfish

-“Star Puffs” A.K.A. Lil’ Graduates

-Shells & Cheese

-Arrowroot cookies

NEW DISLIKES

-ANY 3rd stage food, even if it’s pasta or chicken flavored

-Green beans (which he loved as 2nd stage food)

-Anything that gets thrown at Daddy

The biggest challenge lately has been keeping the “treats” away from him…if he’s eating his normal, 2nd stage dinner and he catches a glimpse of the delicious yogurt behind our back…all bets are off, and he spits out any dinner until he gets the yogurt. Not just spitting it out will suffice, though…he gathers the drooly mess on his hand and smears it all over his high chair!

Exhibit A: The defendant clearly smearing food all over to gain access to goodies. Note the attempted smirk of innocence.

This kid is smart. He knows just how to push my buttons. He even knows where the goodies are kept and tries to reach for the basket in the middle of eating.

So we’re still struggling with the 3rd stage foods today. For the sake of sanity, we don’t even try to give them to him. Every now and then, we give it a whirl, but it always leaves us wondering why we thought it would be different this time. You know, it has been a couple of weeks since we last tried…

Food Fight! Struggling with Feeding, Part I

20110831-102054.jpg

Early feeding. Note the despair and anger in Mason’s face.

For some odd reason, infants need to eat to live. You’d think it would be easier for children to be born with 3-4 years of energy stored within, but no, multiple daily feedings it must be. At least it starts with breast milk/formula. That’s about as simple as it gets…a one-item menu! This is one of the advantages of newborns…they get what you give to them and they don’t know any better. It’s not appropriate to introduce anything else until at least 4 months of age.

And that’s where my story begins…

Mason was about four months old when his pediatrician gave the go-ahead for “spoon feeding.” Roughly translated into daddy terminology, it means “screaming and torture of your child to the point of feeling so evil, it depresses you to the bone.” Well…that’s what my kid made it feel like. Mason didn’t take too well to the rice cereal…or the spoon…or any component of this new step in his short life. He expressed his disgust the only way he knew. Screaming. And holding his breath in-between wails until he turned purple…

It should go without saying that no parent wants to watch their child act that way…especially when it’s triggered by the parent (reasonable cause or not)! Holly and I were beside ourselves…we hated putting Mason through all of it, but we knew he had to get the nutrition he needed.

So we pressed forward.

20110831-104557.jpg

Progress! Anger and despair has been replaced by reluctant acceptance.

After a couple of weeks, Mason seemed to accept his fate. He still hated the rice cereal. It was messy, too…rice cereal is typically mixed with breast milk or formula at the start of spoon feeding. This concoction breaks down very quickly…within a few minutes of meal time (and inevitably getting some drool mixed in between bites), the cereal liquifies and resembles the leftover liquid from a large helping of coleslaw. Yuck.

Relief came around the 6-7 month mark. Doc approved fruits and veggies for consumption. This complicated the menu forever. Now, Mason took charge of yet another aspect of his life. He was responsible for telling us what foods he liked and disliked, which he did via spitting out the latter. As I remember it…

FIRST FOODS

LIKES

Apples

Bananas

Pears

Peaches

Green Beans

DISLIKES

Squash

Sweet Potato

Slowly but surely, Mason became accustomed to eating basic foods. The torture we had exposed him to was worth it…occasional smiles broke out from time to time when he really appreciated what he was given…so long as he liked it. If course, as with any parenting function…it never stays stationary for long. Mason had to step up yet again to *gulp* solid foods…

NEXT POST: Food Fight, Part II. Solid Foods…oh lord…

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