30 December 2012

Four months

We survived our first xmas as a family of three. Next year has to be better and more fun. Especially since I won't have to have Paxlet on my chest in the Snugli while eating (I hope). I didn't want to lay him down on the floor/couch as there was a rambunctious untrained dog present and we left the monitor at home so Paxlet couldn't be put upstairs on the bed.

I thoroughly enjoy watching this little being grow and learn. How often does one get to see the world through the eyes of an infant where everything is so new? Sure some days are harder than others and I do get a bit frustrated at times, but those moments are thankfully fleeting, especially when Paxlet gives me a huge slobbery grin.

Weight & Length: We won't be heading in for a check up until the 8th of January, so the only figures I have are old ones. Paxlet's length from last month is 62,5 cm (24,6 in), but I do have a slightly more updated weight figure from December 12th. When we went in for his vaccinations, I asked for them to weigh him. He weighed 7 kilos 455 grams (16,4 lbs).

Sleeping: Paxlet sleeps well, once asleep, but he still isn't falling asleep on his own. While it is sometimes frustrating that he won't go to sleep on his own, he is ONLY 4 months old just now. We'll work on it and it will happen. Naps are easiest to get him down, because if all else fails, I can put him in the stroller and take him for a walk and he zonks out almost immediately.

He has also taken to needing a boob in his mouth most of the night. He isn't eating the entire time, but he needs the boob there or at least accessible when he wants it. I get more sleep too when the boob is readily available. I don't mind it so much, but my hips get sore and the position is just uncomfortable to be in for that long.
I've recently come across the term "4 month sleep regression", which I guess is what Paxlet could be going through. We don't have all the symptoms of a sleep regression, but enough and in Paxlet's own way, that I'm sure that this is what it is. My understanding of it is that due to infants going through a lot of changes right around 4 months (learning new things, new experiences, growth spurts, teething, etc.) that the sleep gets messed up. Not that ours was the greatest before, we don't get those fabled "all night sleeps" of 5 or so hours much less true all night. It doesn't bother me so much, as I can take a nap during the day if I want because I still don't have to be at work, but it sure would be nice to start getting a bit more regular sleep at night.
These two links explain quite well, in my opinion, about what is going on around 4 months regarding sleep:
Troublesome Tots - The Thing About Sleep Regressions (This is a great blog!)
KellyMom - Wakeful 4 Month Olds (good breastfeeding info)

Eating: He's a great eater! I'm planning on exclusively breast feeding until 6 months of age. I know things can change and if they need to, I'm ok with that.

Not quite eating, but it involves the mouth: Paxlet chews on everything! Toys, spit rags, clothes, towels, my hands, his hands and more. He has chewed/sucked on his hands so much that part of them are getting quite dried out. I'll need to remember to put lotion on them at night (and maybe some hand covers) to try and get them baby soft again.

Diapers: I think we're just going to be a disposable diaper family all the way. I'm too lazy and disposables are just to easy.

Clothing: He's still wearing size 60-68, although several 60's don't fit anymore and some others are getting tighter. I think I'll get to go second-hand shopping again soon!

Hair: This little boy is still pretty much bald. He's got some blond as can be short hair, but from farther away he still looks quite bald.

Personality: Paxlet is such an insanely happy baby! I know we, as parents, are quite biased, but many others have commented on this also. He's just always ready with a smile (unless he's just woken up...just like his momma). Paxlet will also let you know when he feels he's been wronged or something isn't to his liking.

Milestones & Firsts*: Not only is he following objects held in front of him, but he is noticing the entire world around him. This little boy just won't hold still. He wiggles and wiggles and turns his head to look at everything. Especially if daddy is holding him and momma is elsewhere. Paxlet has a mom-radar.

Paxlet loves it when he looks at someone and that person notices him back. But momma's attention is the best of all.

...should be able to:
on stomach, lift head up 90 degrees - this has only been happening the last week or so and not all the time

laugh out loud - this is so last month, but it doesn't mean I love it any less!

...will probably be able to:

on stomach, raise chest, supported by arms - this is a bit hit and miss. He can do it, but not consistently

reach for an object - Before and while my dad and sister were here, Paxlet was grabbing things if you gave them to him. He was also sometimes reaching out in the general direction of objects, but it was very hit and miss if he actually grabbed something. But immediately after they left, Paxlet's concentration changed and he went from haphazardly grabbing things and sometimes getting them to focused attention on what he was aiming for and more often than not grabbing what he wanted. His movements are still a bit jerky, but he's grabbing at everything!

pay attention to an object as small as a raisin - we've not tested this one, but I'm sure he could, as his attention to objects is much more acute these days.

squeal in delight - and screeching! High pitch sounds are great fun right now.

...may possibly be able to:
keep head level with body when pulled to sitting - This has been possible for some time, but nowadays it happens all the time and his head control is much better.

roll over (one way) - This has been happening for a week or two now. He rolls from his back to his front (towards the right). In the last two days he's started half rolling to the other direction. In addition to rolling, when he gets on his tummy, he can scootch forward some. He puts his butt in the air and with his face in the blanket, pushes forward. He can also push himself sideways (as of just now for the first time as I was writing this while Paxlet was playing with Mr Siili).

...may even be able to:
bear some weight on legs when held upright - he's been "standing" for some time, but he definitely has more power and strength lately. He's really pushing with his legs and standing. He'll be sofa-surfing in no time. Eeps.

object if you try to take a toy away - Oh, yes! Although, it isn't so much toys that he objects to being taken away yet as it is boobs. Toys rate on a lower scale still.

Likes: Paxlet loves going upstairs. Anytime Mr Siili or I take him upstairs, for whatever reason, he gets very happy and wiggly. I'm not sure why, but I guess he must like what is up there: showers/baths, diaper and clothes changes and bedtime.

Dislikes: Getting shots. Last time he got his vaccinations, I held Paxlet on my lap and the nurse gave him a shot in his thigh. I turned Paxlet around for the next shot, but in the mean time Paxlet told the nurse, quite vocally and angrily what he thought of that shot. It would have been cuter if he wasn't hurting from it. Then he got his second shot and really cried. I quickly got my boob out and let him eat. Paxlet would take a few sucks, then stop and tell me what he thought about the shots, drink again for a few sucks and again explain his displeasure. After a couple of times of this he finally had a smile and nicer words for me (and the nurse). We're going to have a handful with this guy!

*I've been using the What to Expect - The First Year by Heidi Murkoff for a majority of the milestones, in addition to adding events/things Mr Siili and I have noticed not mentioned in the book. I'm mostly only sharing the ones that are new this month and not repeating everything, or this post will get very long!

26 December 2012

Now that that's finally over, we can get back to normalcy

Finally, xmas and all this 'merry making' is done and over with. This year's christmas has just left me in a bad mood. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that affected me so, but I'm just feeling bleh and a bit BattleFish-y. I could make all sorts of excuses as to why I'm not in the cheeriest of moods, such as:
I didn't get any candy for xmas,
We were horrible first time parents and didn't take any "baby's first xmas" photos,
I'm missing my mom,
I only got a couple of gifts,
We left our cats at home for the night so that there wasn't dog drama,
Mr Siili and I argued more than I'd like (over mostly stupid crap) and
the whole trip to the in-laws was rushed and stressful.

But really, those are just sorry excuses, well, all except for missing my mom. What I really should be thinking and remember is the following:
I have the happy and healthy baby I've been wanting for years!,
My dad and sister visiting earlier this month was a wonderful early xmas gift. Not to mention the brand new laptop and other items they brought for Paxlet and I,
I have my health,
I have a great husband (most of the time),
We spent time at my in-laws, who made wonderful xmas food and even sent some of it home with us, including candies, brie and blue cheese!,
Paxlet inched his way across the bed by himself for the first time (butt up in the air and then pushed himself forward, face down leaving a "snail slime trail") and
I Skyped with my entire family in the US this evening.

Tomorrow's just another day and for that I'm very thankful. I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays, whatever it is you celebrate. I'm just read to go back to my normal everyday life, starting right now, by going to bed.

21 December 2012

Winter solstice

Happy winter solstice! The days can only get longer and brighter from here on out!!

Being that today is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, it's an important day to remember up here in the north where the winters are long and dark. Thankfully where I live, we still see the sun for a few short hours each day, unlike way up north where they haven't seen the sun for a while and still won't see it for some time. Today, on this shortest day of the year, the sun rises at 9:42 and sets at 15:03 (that's 3:03pm) giving us 5 hours and 20 minutes of the sun above the horizon.

On that note, Paxlet and I are going to get dressed up, it's cold out (-14C / 7F), and head out to enjoy a bit of this rare daylight. We won't be seeing the sun as it is cloudy and snowy, but the lightness will be nice anyway.

19 December 2012

All I want for Christmas...

...is my two front teeth. No wait, I have those. Then there isn't anything I need or want for Christmas this year. Honestly! I received my Christmas present early this year, August 30th to be exact. Yet, Mr Siili insists on getting me something to open Christmas eve. Isn't that sweet?!

I've given him a few ideas, but he doesn't like them because,
1. he doesn't dare buy me jewelry, I'm way too picky (very true, even though I don't think he can go wrong with a Nomination link for my bracelet),
2. he doesn't want to buy me household machines as he's sure I'd be happier if I picked it out myself (I need a new handheld mixer) and
3. he won't even approach the subject of buying me clothing (although, I've not mentioned this, ever, but he is correct that I am very very picky about my clothes).

So, I'm curious to see what Mr Siili comes up with. As I said, in all honesty, I don't need or want anything more than what I already have. I wouldn't turn down a massage, though. But, if someone insists, some well spent family time and love from my two men would be great!

What's on your list this year?

16 December 2012

What a difference a year makes

I've been trying to write this post all day long, but due to my little boy, he's kept me busy and away from the computer. Which is exactly the point of this post: One year ago today, little did I know my world was going to change, for the better. It was exactly 2 weeks after my 3rd (and final) IVF protocol that I peed on a stick, two to be exact, and got a faint second line.

A year ago, I had some psychologist appointments to help me come to terms with my mom's death and more pressing the fact that I may not become a mom myself. While I didn't care for the psychologist much herself, she did raise a few good questions and help me start processing things in my head. I am so thankful that my life didn't end up that way. I'm lucky, I know it.

I am one of the very fortunate ones. Not only did I finally get the long awaited BFP, but I had a very easy pregnancy that went full term (41 weeks and 2 days), the delivery was fast and uncomplicated and Paxlet has been a wonderful child without colic or major screaming fits. I know I have it good and I never forget it.

13 December 2012

Family was here

Paxlet and I put them on a bus this morning headed for Helsinki to catch their first flight towards home and I cried for over 30 minutes after that. I think the only reason I stopped when I did was because I started cleaning as soon as Pax and I got home. Hey, when the boy is sleeping, it's the time to get things done!

Phew, what a week! This past week with my dad and sister was great! It was a long week, yet it was very short. Before they arrived, the weather forecast said it was going to be quite cold (-15C) the first couple of days they would be here, but the coldness came early and it wasn't that cold (-8C to -2C) during their visit. They even said it was "warm" the last couple of days they were here. Thankfully it wasn't that cold, as it allowed us to wander around downtown and be outside without freezing too badly.

We didn't really do too much while my dad and sister visited. The first day they were here was Finnish Independence day and no stores were open. So, all of us just took a walk around the neighborhood and let my family recover from traveling a bit. The rest of the time we spent downtown at the open air Christmas market, the stable yards (another open air market), in a few regular stores and then at home hanging out. Mainly we just wanted to spend time together, especially with Pax, which we did!

Paxlet seemed to enjoy the time with his Grandpa and Auntie. Lots of talking, smiles and laughs all around. Pax didn't have any problems with them holding him from day one, which is great because my family is just in love with our little guy. It was great seeing my dad with Paxlet. So sweet. gentle and loving. Paxlet looks (and is) so small when compared to my dad. I probably should have gotten some pictures that better showed their differences, especially the hands. My back was very thankful to have had other people holding Pax a lot of the time this past week. I hope this bit of respite for my back will continue.

My sister spent most of her money she brought with her to buy Christmas gifts. She made it clear when she arrived that that was her intent: she was going to spend as much as she wanted and how she wanted. The reason she stated it so clearly is that when she was here the first time (12 years ago), she was only 16 and my dad and I sort of controlled her the small amount of money she had and what she could or couldn't spend it on. This time around, she wasn't going to let that happen. LOL. She definitely spent it this time and had lots of fun doing it.

In typical male fashion, our dad's not so good about shopping. So my sister and I helped our dad with ideas for his Christmas shopping. To give him credit, our stepmom and one of our brothers aren't the easiest people to shop for. My sister and I do think we did a good job in helping him out though.

An added bonus to my dad and sister visiting is that they brought me and Pax tons of stuff! (Mr Siili didn't really want anything, but might benefit from some of the items, at least indirectly.) The biggest thing they brought me was a brand new laptop!!! Now there won't be any issues with Skype-calls with family whenever, not that there was issues before, but my stepmom felt otherwise. Other things that my dad and sister brought were:
- two sheepskins (they were our mom's) that we can use in Paxlet's stroller during the winter to help him stay warm,
- some toys (wooden stacking boxes, giraffe finger puppet, wooden balls, driftwood blocks) and costumes (frog & dragon/dinosaur) for Pax,
- food and candy (brewer's yeast, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, food coloring, Reese's pieces trees & bells, (American) Smarties, grits, some cake mixes, tapioca pearls, Skittles & Starbursts, Lifesavers...),
- some paintings,
- a knitted lion my mom had made (it found it's way to me after all!!),
- toys that I ordered from Amazon for Pax (stacking cups, Boomerings and Rock-a-stack)
I am sure there is more stuff I'm just not remembering right now. I know for a fact that their suitcases are much lighter going home now.

My smiling baby boy has awoke from his nap so it is  time to go play with him. I hope to write up a few stories from my dad and sister's visit. In the meantime, I'm wishing my dad and sister a safe and pleasant trip home! And happy birthday to my only sister!

05 December 2012

just a few more hours

I'm getting more and more excited as the minutes tick by and it gets closer for my dad and sister to touch down in Helsinki. It will still take them a couple of hours more to reach us by bus, but if they make it to Finland on time, then the rest is easy! They will have 3 flights, 1 bus trip and approximately 27 hours of total travel time, door-to-door. Fingers crossed that all flights are on time and no luggage lost.

On a random note, as I was waking downtown on Monday to a play group, I stopped to take some pictures of the beautiful snow, ice and steam cooking off the lake. On the trees there was some hoar frost. Which got me thinking about the word "whore", only I stooped couldn't figure out how it was spelled. Only hoar and huora (whore in Finnish) came to mind. So, as I'm enjoying this beautiful scenery, I'm thinking of whores.

02 December 2012

beating loneliness with mom & baby groups

Sitting at home day in and day out with my lovely little boy is not something I can do. I'd go cabin fever crazy! I NEED to interact with other people, especially those who can actually talk. During the first 2 months of Paxlet's life, I was content with making trips to the store, meeting a friend or co-worker for lunch downtown and on the rare occasion, hooking up with a friend to hang out, Paxlet always in tow. But I still needed a bit more than that.

Close to Paxlet's 2 month birthday, neuvola scheduled a group neuvola meeting where the moms who had approximately 2 month old babies got to meet up. I mentioned this event back when it happened and I'm still of the same opinion of it: not much will come out of it in terms of meeting other moms that might become friends to hang out with. As such, I've taken matters into my own hands.

Paxlet and I started testing out different mom & baby clubs/groups this last month. There are many places and organizations that offer weekly events for moms to attend with their babies, toddlers and young kids (under school age). Each of these places are slightly different from each other, but generally with the same idea. So far, we've tried out a few of these groups. We've been to some at the Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliiton (MLL) (Mannerheim Children's Protective Services), the local Lutheran churches, from the city and an international group (privately run, but open to anyone). If Paxlet and I want, there are enough groups happening during the week (Monday through Thursday) that we can go to a different group each day, sometimes more than one each day, if we want.

There are two MLL groups we have gone to so far and one more that I am thinking of checking out. The first MLL group is for moms and babies under 1 year old. It lasts for 2 hours, but you don't have to stay the entire time. I like this group quite a bit for the main fact that all the kids are under a year. It is also quite nice to be with other moms who are on their first kid; the same situation as me. The second group I tried out just this past week for the first time and I'm not too sold on it. It is closer to home, but it is for kids of all ages and not very organized. Also, there is no sort of program, so everyone just runs around as they wish. Not that that is bad, but it is a bit crazy.

We've been to two different church groups, one a 5 minute walk from our home and the other a 45 minute walk (although, we go there by bus). The church groups are more meant for slightly older kids, but everyone is welcome. These groups are quite organized with an opening prayer, a couple of songs/hymns, a biblical story and then one more prayer before the older kids run off to get some juice and cookies. Then the kids either have a craft to do, especially if there is a holiday or event coming up, or they can play. During snack and play time, the adults (mostly moms, a couple of dads, grandmas and nannies) get a snack of their own and a chance to talk. Then the last 15 minutes, of the hour and a half, is spent with everyone together again singing and acting out some songs. I like these groups decently well, even with the churchy stuff.

The international group is the only one where I speak English, as some of the mom's are from other countries (and might now speak Finnish) or their partner is from another country. I like this group, because I can speak English, but there is no program whatsoever and some of the kids are a bit unruly, not to mention LOUD.

Now that we've tried some of the groups, I thinking of which ones I would like us to go to regularly. I also hope that by attending some of these groups a bit more, I will find a couple of moms who would like to meet outside of the groups for some play dates. I just worry that many of the moms will shy away from me because of my less than native Finnish speaking skills, even if I do speak and understand the language quite well. In any case, these groups are definitely helping to get us out of the house, give me some adult conversation and beat loneliness.