Wallace | Nine Months

Seems like he is 'almost a year old', but really---nine months. Still big and still growing way too quickly for my liking. And his birthday in July seems like a million years away, mostly because it's legitimately very much winter weather here at the moment.

But yes, my Wallace baby is nine months old now.

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First tooth FINALLY sprouted this month. So now I'm on the look out for numero dos because baby Wallace can be incredibly cranky, so I am forced to blame the teeth.

I have failed to get a picture of the cherished tooth, but that closed-lip smile though.
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Actually, that isn't entirely true. He is happy as a clam during the daytime hours. But at night? We are majorly struggling with sleep deprivation here. FOR REAL, something needs to change. I can't even form a coherent sentence regarding night time sleep (lack thereof), but I will just say this: I need to be ready to fully night-wean this 'boob baby'. And in order for that to happen, I need to be ready to wean all together in case my supply drops or I have to push bottles more to ensure he's completely full/meeting his milk requirements. It's a long story and a convoluted mess in my head, but we will get to a point when we aren't drowning...hopefully soon.

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Picture by Truman:
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I am flying with Ace and Lois in two days, and we are going to Oregon for a total of six days. (EXCITED!! Going for my sister-in-law's baby shower). After this trip, I promise to focus on night weaning and sleep. But I'm not bringing my pump and haven't had to start formula yet, so for this trip at least we will be nursing and not doing bottles.

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Nighttime sleep blows, he's up at least twice a night and sometimes more (and sometimes cries after nursing). Naps are all over the place but usually happen after being awake for 3 hours, then again after 3 hours, and finally bedtime happens after 4 hours of wake time. I'd guess he's up for the day around 6-7 am and I try to get him down for the night by 7:30pm. Each nap ranges from 30 minutes to sometimes 2 hours. Meh.

My screen saver at work:
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Also, he's nursing but this month I can tell my supply is dropping. I'm down to pumping just four times per week (at work) and he usually drinks 11 bottles a week. But recently he's been refusing bottles so I don't even know.  Happy to have my big freezer stash from when he didn't take ANY bottles! Regardless, I'm nursing only from my right side now, so let the lopsided fun begin! I'll pump about 4 oz from righty so I'm guessing he gets at least that when he nurses about three times a day, plus the two-ish times at night. See how those numbers don't totally add up? I want to keep nursing him but also want to sleep, and want to know my baby is full/satisfied. Ah, fourth time around and eating/sleeping is still a 'thing'.

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Solids are not a problem at all, as Wallace eats three times per day and loves mostly anything we give him. He eats whole milk yogurt for breakfast, fruit and veggie purees for lunch and dinner, and then I'm still giving plenty of 'real' food that we are eating as a family. So far he love goldfish crackers, graham crackers, and Veggie Straws the most. Go figure!

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Besides the typical sleep and eating talk, Wallace is still incredibly mobile. He's walking along furniture and has even stood unsupported for a few seconds recently. He crawled up three of our stairs and then fell backwards, because I had no idea he could climb stairs. So that was a fun milestone this month;) He will clap, raise his arms above his head when we say 'so big!', and can sometimes wave goodbye. Oh, and the screaming! Add that to his list of tricks, because kid loves to screech like the rest of the children. The louder the better.

Cannot with this face.
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Truly, he is the sweetest baby, you guys. My favorite is when he nuzzles his face into my neck after waking up for the day. Either that, or when I come home from work and his face lights up with the biggest smile ever.

This is not his big smile, but it is a great shot of his double chin.

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Best.
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Wallace loves to be with the big kids and will crawl at lightning speeds to keep up with the crew. He has a particular obsession with Porter's train table and enjoys destroying any and all train tracks that big brother has built. I'm really proud of Porter for being patient with destructive baby but I wonder how long that patience will last. Wallace just adores the big siblings and will follow them around like a puppy dog. It's the best.

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Super pumped about his first Easter, obvi.
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Balls are a big deal this month as Wallace likes to throw them and then chase the balls all over the house. He will slap his hands on the table/high chair over and over again as if to say, 'Feed me, woman!' He definitely knows his name when I ask him to stay out of trouble (ie, don't suck on our shoes or crawl into the bathroom to explore trash cans).

Spring break 2018 at a museum with the kids. Nate has been working 12 hour days at his new clinic and we are all OVER WINTER already, obviously.
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#blessed
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What else? This past month also contained Truman's first broken bone (his wrist, during a soccer game), Cecelia's awesome dance recital, Nate had his kidney stone surgically removed and also opened his clinic, and we had a good but short visit from my mom, Memaw, and my Aunt Dana. It was a total whirlwind of a month, I guess!

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Kind of can't believe our baby is nine months old already. But it also feels like eleventy hundred years since I was pregnant.

Love this little caboose of perfection, even if he won't sleep and gives me more gray hairs than I've ever had before.
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Wallace | Eight Months

There is so much to write and seemingly NOTHING to write about life/our big boy who turned eight months old.

But we will start with 'something': I blinked and he is eight months old, what in the world?

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Sleep is not my favorite topic at all after last night's debauchery. Yes, it was Daylight Savings Time and yes, it usually blows for all parents in the history of ever. Wallace was up at midnight, then again at 4:45am and he didn't return to sleep after that until 6:30am. He nursed four times and I am seriously exhausted, not sure what is going on but he's getting worse at sleep instead of getting better.

I'm looking at you, kid.
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Someday he will sleep through the night and it will be a glorious occasion. But kid just loves to nurse and likely needs it for 'comfort' in the middle of the night, despite all of our sleep training efforts to make bedtime a solid routine that doesn't include nursing.

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He gets a bedtime bottle around 6:30pm and then lights off around 7pm after jammies, books, songs. He now hates taking a bath so I'm not forcing the issue every night in the name of routine.

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Naps are not quite consistent yet, but he will roughly nap for a total of 2 hours each day. Usually he takes the first one around 9am and the second around 1pm, and they range from 45 min to sometimes 2 hours long. It's a crap shoot because depending on how awful the night went, he may sleep in until 8:30 am which throws off the nap schedule entirely.

Yawn.

I'm tired of talking about how tired I am so let's just move on, shall we? Because my goodness, he's cute.

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Wallace loves eating 'real' food now and is gagging less on non-purees. He enjoys protein pancakes, burgers, pizza, quinoa and rice, and baked sweet potato strips. Anything that he can hold himself is a winner and the messier the better! He still eats purees, too, and will down 4-8oz of the stuff during a mealtime. Because I'm being a little psychotic about sleep at night (ha!), I'm trying to get him full to the gills during the day---so purees actually pack more punch than chunky food at the moment.

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He is an excellent nurser, too, and for that I'm eternally grateful. He nurses when he wakes up for the day, gets one 6oz bottle of breastmilk while I'm at work, nurses when I return around 2:30pm, and sometimes nurses again around 5pm before dinner, then that 6:30pm 5 oz breastmilk bottle happens before bed. I have been pumping at work and then also before I go to bed, but I told myself after he hit eight months I could drop the bedtime pump. I do have a hefty freezer stash leftover from the days of bottle refusal/return to work, and honestly if I have to supplement with formula here and there I vow not to care. Because right now, my mental health is going to suffer if I continue pumping before bed, working outside of the home, managing three kids, a house, etc etc etc. I have no doubt that Wallace will continue to nurse when we are together, even if I give a formula bottle at bedtime---so we will just cross that bridge when we come to it as my freezer stash dwindles.

Delicious skin.
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Sidenote on nursing and sleeping: I mentioned the Precious Little Sleep book in my last post, and there is a section in the book that really stuck with me. It talks about 'boob babies' and how you know you have a boob baby when they are obsessed with nursing. It's like nursing is a chocolate cupcake to them, and they are not happy when you remove their beloved cupcake from them. Sure, they CAN sleep without a mouth full of cupcake, but why would anyone want to do that? Stand between a boob baby and his cupcake and you will feel their discontent. Wallace is a total boob baby and loves his freaking chocolate cupcake like woah. I'll try to focus on the positive in this, because although Porter was STTN by now, he also self-weaned at six months. You can't always have a good sleeper AND a good nurser, right?

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An area of excellence for Wallace? Mobility. This baby is seriously crawling super fast, pulling up, sitting back down, he just climbed up the bottom step of our staircase, and he can easily walk along furniture now. The ottoman, couch, and trainable are his favorite locations to practice this skill and I've seen him reach from couch to ottoman, changing locations without a problem. YIKES. It's kind of my favorite to see him crawl like a maniac from room to room, and he will hunt me down when he hears my voice from afar.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E
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How I shower:
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For all of his amazing efforts in mobility, Waller McBaller still has not cut a single tooth. This is definitely late compared to my other children!!

Also, this past month was not the healthiest for our baby. He had his very first ear infection about a month ago, and then two weeks ago I had to take him into Urgent Care because he was hysterical at night. Also, the other three kids were also sick (Truman had an ear infection and possible strep, Cecelia and Porter both had tummy bugs). We had a total of four Urgent Care visits spanned over two weekends, Wallace going in twice and the other kids all went in once. It was a blast, let me tell you.

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SADDEST.
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Oh yeah, I forgot about the time his eyes were crusty and red and swollen last month, too. Let the good times roll.
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ANYWAY, that first weekend of fun uncovered Wallace's second ear infection---this time only his left ear, but 'pretty bad' according to the doc. Since he had been off amoxicillin for only one month, they put him on Cefdinir this time which is stronger. It did help clear up the infection, but on day 7 he spiked a 103 degree fever over night and was crying the saddest cry ever, plus very tired. I took him back into Urgent Care and they swabbed him for Influenza, which was negative. Therefore it was some 'new' virus that gradually faded after a day or two, but the past few weeks have been pretty insane around here. See also: Nate has had a kidney stone for FIVE WEEKS NOW and has to have surgery to remove it this week. #StruggleBus

Because he's been weighed every time at Urgent Care, I know Wallace is a little over 19 pounds now and fits both 9 month and 12 month outfits. I feel like his forehead gets bigger every day and with his new-found scrunch face smile? Totally resembling Truman more and more, if you ask me.

His siblings are in love with this baby and the feeling is mutual. Wallace will giggle at all of them and although he usually destroys Porter's train tracks, big brother is being patient with the little trouble maker more than I expected. Truman and Cecelia are genuinely helpful as they play with Wallace, keep him out of trouble (sort of), and carry him around the house for fun.

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Also, sits in BOB without car seat now!

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
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We call him 'Wallace' most often, but Ace, Waller McBaller, Wall-Ball, Wally Poppins, Mister Poppins, Wallaby, and Acey Basey are all common nicknames you'll hear us say to this nugget babe.

Bunch of (lovable) clowns
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Well, this turned out to be complain-y pants, huh? I should know better than to write a blog post the day after getting horrid sleep. But I'm obviously not making time to write here much anymore, so when the opportunity presents itself I must blog, darn it.

Things to also note:
-Truman turned eight years old and is amazing.
-Nate's new clinic opens in a week!
-Did I mention Nate is having surgery this week?
-We signed the final draw for our addition. Still need to do a tour for you, I know.
-Other thoughts on this hectic time in our lives do sometimes surface, and I consider writing them down. But if a general monthly update is this negative (read: TIRED), I don't think I can do the positive side justice right now. So I just don't write and that's uncool, but maybe someday I'll dust off the cobwebs. After all, this little blog has been kicking for almost ELEVEN years, man. Insanity.

Wallace | Seven Months

Closer to a year than his birth, Wallace is officially seven months old. How? I do not know, my friends.

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It was a huge month for our little caboose: he went from army crawling, to four-point crawling, to pushing into sitting alone, and then pulling to stand. Yes, it's super early for him to be this mobile and I have no idea WHY he's this insane. We've done nothing different with him compared to our sweet Porter boy who didn't roll or crawl or pull to stand until almost a year old. It cracks me up to compare these two dudes, who are polar opposites when it comes to motor milestones!

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But anyway, Wallace is all over the house now and it's a whole new ballgame. He's pulled up on our bottom stair and stands there, looking over at me with a smile. He's trying to climb on top of our mini-trampoline (the centerpiece of our decor during winter months), and will stand at Porter's train table until he's tasted every train. We are doing our best to 'baby proof' the house but it's no small feat, when tiny Shopkins, miniature trucks, and other choke-worthy items seem to end up on the floor at all times. The big kids are really helpful with intercepting foreign objects from Wallace's grubby little hands, and I'm feeling more inspired to capture the dust bunnies living in our corners.

Was getting stuck under things for awhile, now can free himself!
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I'm going to schedule the regular cleaning lady soon, mark my words.

We had to drop the crib mattress this week, as Ace started pulling up in the crib and is a man obsessed with standing instead of laying down. He 'sort of' knows how to sit back down but not really, because he mostly just bails and falls to the side when he wants to move on. Once he masters sitting down gracefully he will probably be a lot happier and less frustrated.

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Because also, he STLL hasn't cut his first tooth, which seems to be a source of great irritation for him. I haven't looked back at the archives to be sure, but I remember the other three cutting teeth at 6 months. I keep jamming my finger in his mouth and praying I'll feel a little nub, but so far no dice. He's not THAT cranky but he has his moments, that for sure. I will continue to blame teething/a growth spurt for about....two more years?

Sorry, not sorry.
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Speaking of growth, this baby is moving into 12 month outfits. He's between 18-19 pounds and looooooves to eat solids now. We are feeding him purees 2-3 times per day and he can easily slam 4-6oz of baby food in a sitting. I think he will keep going if I let him! He can also grab puffs and Baby Mum Mum crackers and some yogurt melts, which is great because it keeps him busy in the high chair while I'm making dinner. I haven't been really strict with introducing new foods one at a time, because #fourthbaby, but so far he seems to love mangoes and bananas the best. I'm really into the Plum Organics brand of baby purees this time (not sponsored!) and some of their flavors seem  downright delicious. Raspberry, banana, barley? Turmeric and Cardamom? Yes, please!

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Henry is a huge fan of babies at this age.
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Because Ace is eating so much 'real' food, he's adjusting to his new poop schedule and has to really push them out now. I won't go into detail and don't think he is truly constipated, but he has to work harder than when he was only consuming breastmilk. And the diapers are much more offensive now, so sad!

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He's still nursing really well, although we are playing around with our nursing/pumping schedule and I think my supply is finally dropping down from where it was a month ago. Right now Wallace nurses around 7:30 am before I go to work, he takes a 5 oz bottle of pumped milk around 11-12am, nurses again when I come home around 2:30, sometimes a snack around 5pm, and now we do a 5 oz bottle of breastmilk before bedtime around 6:30pm. He also has solids at lunch and dinner, and then I pump at work one time and before I go to bed. I HATE pumping and am toying with the idea of dropping the work pump session, but we will see. I do still have about 250-300oz of milk frozen from my maternity leave/early return to work when he refused a bottle. I also find myself less psychotic about avoiding formula, because Porter had already self-weaned at this point and did just fine on formula. Of course, I worry Ace won't even drink formula if we offered because he's so darn picky, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, just celebrating an awesome nursing relationship for the past seven months!

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He IS starting to clamp down/bite my nipple and whip his head around in distraction, which causes me to scream in pain----not fun at all, and hopefully he stops that soon. I want to continue nursing as long as he wants to nurse, and I could see this guy nursing well beyond a year. We will see, I suppose!

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Now for sleep talk: I just finished the book Precious Little Sleep and seriously love it, you should definitely read it if you are struggling with sleep issues in your baby/toddler. I started off by devouring her blog and then her FB page, and then finally bought and read the book this month. I am a big fan of the author's take on sleep training---it gets right to the point, saying it's necessary to teach kids how to sleep independently so that they can be well rested and healthy, and she throws in a little bit of sarcasm/humor to lighten the topic. Really, it's a great read and I'm not sure why I haven't heard of this book before now!

Wallace is most definitely NOT sleeping through the night but we have come so far from the days when he needed to be glued to my boob all night long. Having his own nursery was a huge step. And now we have solidified a bedtime routine to include bottle (so he stays awake during the last feed, and also gets really full), then bath, lotion and jammies, books and singing, then GOODNIGHT at 7pm! Sometimes he fusses around for about 5-10 minutes in protest, but some nights he goes down without any grumbles. This. Is. Huge.

Then he consistently wakes about twice at night to eat, around 12 or 1, and then again around 4 or 5. I'm starting to try the PLS method of night weaning by shortening our nursing sessions at night, and I won't feed Wallace if he wakes before midnight. Usually he will nurse for about 15 min and then I'll lay him down without issue, but sometimes he is super pissy to be removed from the breast. Last night he was only up once at 3 am, and he kept falling right to sleep nursing. I doubt he's truly hungry at night as he's plenty big/old to make it without night feeds, but I know he's just used to eating at night and loves to nurse for comfort. We will get there, as I'm more than mentally ready to sleep longer than 5 hour stretches. I'm super proud of Wallace for how far he's come with sleeping at night and can absolutely see a difference in his demeanor when he's slept well at night. It makes for a happier mom, happier baby, and happier family life when we sleep. Who knew?

Naps are getting more consistent, too. We try to follow the 2-3-4 rule, which means he is awake for 2 hours in the morning before his first nap. That puts him going down around 9 am, and then he will sleep anywhere from 45 min to 1.5 hours. Then we keep him up for 3 hours before nap number two, usually putting him down around 1-2pm. That second nap is usually only 45 min or so, but sometimes longer. Then he can make it for about 4 hours before bedtime, assuming he wakes from his second nap around 3 and bedtime is 7pm.

I'm sure this sleep talk is not nearly as fascinating for you as it is for me, but I'm definitely becoming obsessed with getting more sleep these days. I'm going to be 37 in a few months, and with four kids and a part time job outside of the home (and everything else in life), mama needs some freaking sleep!! Who doesn't, right?

What else? Oh, this past month Wallace also had his first double ear infection and therefore his first round of Amoxicillin. He was up from 10-2am one night and then the next night was just as bad, so I trusted my gut and took him in to the doc, hoping for answers. Sure enough, double ear infection. BOO. He truly hated the amoxicillin and spit most of it out for the first 5 days, then started to accept it better in the final 5 days.

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We've also been hit with a wave of illness in this house beyond the ear infection, as Truman had a fever and missed a day of school, then he started puking a few days later and missed two more days of school. My stomach has NOT been right since then and I've been kind of stressed about everyone else getting sick. I think about 1/3 of the kids are sick at home at the kids' school, as this winter has just SUCKED for sickness! Truman and Cecelia had their first ever snow day yesterday, though, which is very unlike Wisconsin to call it after just 5-6" of snow! But we will take an extra day at home, and luckily Tony didn't mind having them home while I worked my usual 5 hours.

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Wallace's personality remains the sweetest, happiest, and most curious little baby around. He loves watching his siblings and now follows them around the house. He sometimes cries when I leave the room so I think separation anxiety is beginning, but usually he's just fine as long as he's entertained. And he's a BUSY BOY, constantly crawling around, standing, putting things in his mouth, squealing, etc. His smile and giggle melt us and it's hard to feel stressed when starting at this face.

The month of January was a good one around here. And not related to the baby, the house addition is 99.99% finished and I expect we will officially sign the completion papers this week. Nate also turned in his notice at his job and is opening his own PT clinic through a Detroit-based company. We expect his new doors to open mid-March and it's quite surreal for him to OFFICIALLY go this route! It's been a long time coming and we are excited for all that's to come. I've been in my supervisor position for a year already, too. Time flies!

Back of house, cannot WAIT to have the entire thing painted this spring!
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Life is wild but it's incredibly good, too.
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