Let me tell you about John Luke: My light, laughter and sunshine.
*He smiles with his whole face and can light up a room. His smile can also be very mischevious which allows him to get away with far more than it should.
*He’s all boy and is going to be destructive. If he can push it, pull it, haul it, spill it, or break it, he’s content. The faster and louder the better. He especially likes things that go varoommm. I found this out when a Harley motorcycle flew past us while walking. I thought he was going to jump out of my arms.
*He is strong-willed and very determined. When he makes his mind up to do something he means business. You can see the determination all over his face until he achieves his objective.
*He likes mechanical things and likes to figure things out. He’s very smart and will mimic you. If you say, “Show me your muscles, grrr” a few times, he will grit his face and say “grrr” with you. He will put his arms together like we do (the body builder pose) and copy us.
*You can put up barricades, but he will find away to go around them if you’re not careful.
*He notices small things. We put up covers for the fireplace edges. It wasn’t an hour before he noticed them. And figured out how to pull them off.
*Changing diapers is like fighting a mini Sumo wrestler. He rolls, flips, twist and sometimes tries to climb off his changing table. After every diaper change, I declare victory, and feel like I just wrestled down a wild boar.
*He likes to stick out his tongue, and thinks it’s funny to blow food out at the same time.
*After you kiss him, he will clack his tongue. He thinks he is making the same sound as a kiss, and is kissing you back.
*He’s a very expressive boy. He squeals when he’s excited, and babbles when he’s tired.
*He’s a very affectionate child. He strokes your hand when you’re giving him his bottle, or he likes to hold your fingers, and prefers to be held over any toy.
*He is a “people person” and will go to anybody. But when he’s sleepy he wants his Mama. I will enjoy these moments while it last, because it will not be that way forever.
This week we took John Luke to the fair to pet the animals and to ride some kiddie rides. However, he only got to ride the carousel. We thought there might be a few rides we could ride with him like the train or the small airplanes. Unfortunately, he’ll have to wait until next year. The requirements on most were 34” tall to max 54” and kids have to be walking.
I’ve always loved the fair. Josh, not so much. I love the rides, the funnel cakes, petting the animals, and the best- people watching. You never know what you’re gonna see at the fair! Josh says the fair always brings out the rift raft. We even had two young adults stop and ask us, “How do you spell Georgia?” As one person was texting it into the phone, the other was asking, “Did you get that?”
I love, love riding the rides! All of them, any of them, the faster the better. Again, Josh not so much. So lucky for me, I got to use the extra tickets we’d bought for John Luke. Josh stayed with the stroller and let me ride! On the ‘Tilt a Whirl’, I’d asked to sit next to a girl who was sitting by herself. I didn’t want to take up a whole seat if she was by herself too. She literally picked her nose in front of me as we were talking. As I said, you never know what you’re gonna see at the fair.
My favorite ride of all time is the Himalayan. I feel like a teenager every time I get on it. I hear the 80’s music playing and feel the wind blowing through my hair. Takes me back! John Luke- I hope someday you will have songs that you’ll cherish for all time. That no matter where you are, you will want to stop and feel the beat, and enjoy life.
Even though John Luke only got to ride the carousel (we rode twice and the second time about put him to sleep) we had fun. The fair always makes me feel like fall is around the corner. I love reminiscing of days past riding the same rides after all these years.
I do want to add a side note to all you out there with “Empty Arms”. Events like this used to make me so sad. Seeing all the people their with their children; their families complete and wondering if mine ever would be too. I thought of you. I hurt for you. Although, I felt so good and happy, it was bittersweet remembering all the years I felt that emptiness. It wasn’t so long ago, I was in the same place you might be in right now.
In the “Ride of Life”, I don’t know if the path to completing your family will be the same as mine, but I wish you well along your journey. In my heart of hearts, I wish you well.
I hope one day your family will be complete too.
This week I’ve been trying to transition John Luke into a schedule rather than feeding on demand. After his pediatrician telling me he should be sleeping through the night, then in the nursery Sunday morning, I had a discussion with some friends that said they felt it would be better for him and for me.
Since he’s almost 9 months, it’s time for us both to have a little more structure in our routine. It hasn’t been easy. I think we’ve both “cried it out” a little, but we’re getting there. They suggested I do 7AM,11AM, 3AM feeding times during the day and give him a bottle at 11PM then let him “cry it out” til 7AM. Both friends give their kids bottles at 7PM and they are down til 7AM. Ugh! I tried feeding 7-11-3 once before, but it didn’t work at the time. So far it has been working for us despite a few bumps.
John Luke was typically getting a bottle of rice cereal around 10-10:30PM, 2-2:30PM, and back to regular formula 6-6:30AM. I’m not quite ready to make him stretch from 7PM -7AM or 11PM-7AM, so I’ve been giving him a bottle around 12AM to help him last longer. I think that’s been helping until I can transition him to a 11-7 schedule.
I decided it was time to turn the monitor off. The nursery shares a wall with our room. I thought it’d help not hearing his cries until he really turned up those pipes. The first night he woke up around 4AM. I admit, I caved. I wasn’t quite ready; and was having some separation anxiety myself. I got him back on schedule during the day feeding him a light breakfast at 8, so he was ready to eat again by 11.
The next night I still fed him around midnight. He woke up at 6:05AM. I went ahead and gave him a bottle, it was close enough to 7 for me. I felt like I could get him back on track during the day.
The hardest night was when he woke up at 5AM. He cried for about 20 minutes, fell back asleep, then cried another 10, then he was out again. That last 10 minutes was hard. I started to cry and almost caved. I made the mistake of turning on the monitor to watch him. He grabs on to the bars and shakes forward and back. He kept sticking his hands through the bars, and one time he looked like he was trying to find a way to climb out. It was tearing at my heartstrings, but I knew if I kept caving we’d never get anywhere. He wore himself down crying, then finally laid back down.
So far the best night has been when I fed late, around 12:30AM. The next morning I woke up at 7:37AM, and realized I hadn’t woken to any cries. I turned on the monitor expecting to find him sleeping. He was playing with his toys in his crib and hadn’t made a peep.
This morning a funny thing happened. I woke up again around 7:30AM to find him playing in his crib. I turned on the monitor and watched him for a few minutes before going in to get him. He’d started “talking” and pulling on the bars so I got up.
When I went into his room, the smell met me at the door. As I got closer to the crib, I noticed poop all over his face. Great!! Chuckle, sarcasm emphasised! He’d stuck his hand in his diaper and smeared it on his face. He did it right too making sure he got both bumpers, the sheet, his blanket and some of his toys. Of all days, a water valve had busted in the basement. We had to wait to get a plumber out to fix it before everything could be washed.
As I tell everybody, he’s all boy and there’s never a dull moment around here…
John Luke had his 9 month well-baby visit this week. He’s 21.2 lbs, 29 inches long and is in the 75th percentile of weight and 85th percentile of height. He’s gonna be a monster! The doctor said he could eat anything we eat with the exception of honey, until after the first year. He also recommended I get a food grinder. I recently bought a small food processor, but I’ve still been giving him baby food. I’m still getting used to the idea that he can eat grown up food. My baby is growing up so fast!! It doesn’t register to feed him what we’re eating. The doctor said he could now have things like scrambled eggs, peanut butter (to watch for allergies), and puffs.
He also asked if we’d baby proofed the house with safety locks for household cleaning cabinets, etc. I told him we had as of last week. He also mentioned something I never would’ve thought about. To have a fire escape plan. For example, if we’re upstairs, what would be our plan of evacuation from different points in the house if a fire ensued.
We have more work to do baby proofing the house. Just the other day, Josh and I were watching him play in the den. He wandered over to a small chest the size of a plant stand. He started pulling on one of the drawers. We watched to make sure he didn’t pull the drawer out and bonk himself in the head. Well, instead of the drawer coming out, the whole chest fell over. Luckily, it’s made of pine and very light weight. He didn’t hurt himself, but my heart plunged to my stomach. I yelped as I threw my sandwich and jumped up. He cried about 30 seconds then was easily distracted again. I think it scared him more than anything, it sure scared me. The table has since been moved and I’m re-evaluating what other items could be pulled over.
The doctor also asked if John Luke was sleeping any better. I told him he was still waking up about every four hours. The doctor replied he should be sleeping through the night. I should let him cry. That it would take about three days of letting him “cry it out”, and he’d be sleeping through the night. Josh is all for this, but I’m not there. All I can think is, that he is crying for his mama and she never comes. Especially now that he is saying ‘ma ma’ a little bit. I keep thinking since he’s eating more solids and is more active, he’ll sleep longer through the night. I may start stretching his daytime feedings out to every 5 hours to try and condition him to wait longer between night feedings. Right now after about 4.5 hours he starts coming unglued if he doesn’t see food in his future:)
It’s all a learning curve. Everyday I’m learning and experiencing all I thought motherhood would be. Some days I would do things much differently. Other days, I wouldn’t change a darn thing, as long as he’s happy and healthy. And that he is!
The following pictures are from a ‘Diaper Ministries’ photo shoot I previously posted about. He didn’t win, can you belive it? I’m a little partial. Wink wink.
We headed to Alabama this week for a family reunion for a meet John Luke party. Yes, he is almost 8 months old and we are still celebrating his birth. I guess when you’ve waited and hoped for a baby for six years every day still feels like a miracle.
We’ve been home several times since John Luke was born; but we usually head south for a whirlwind trip for the weekend which doesn’t allow time to see everyone. We had planned a barbecue at Josh’s parents for the aunts, uncles and cousins to meet the newest member of the family. However, on Thursday Josh’s 92 year old Great Aunt (Aunt Carol) passed away.
Funeral arrangements had to be made. It was a bittersweet homecoming; but a blessing in disguise that we were able to be home. Josh’s mom needed help with everything that needed to be done. Aunt Carol never married and never had children. Josh’s mom was her caretaker.
Aunt Carol was a career woman with a fascinating life. She moved to Washington DC in 1958, and worked for Senator Lister Hill for ten years. After Senator Hill’s retirement in 1968, she continued to work for the sub-committee on Health, Education and Welfare, until her retirement in 1979.
She was a staunch democrat in a family with traditionally conservative views. We had numerous heartfelt debates on politics, politicians, and social issues. I loved talking politics with her, although our views were worlds apart. She referred to me as a “good little Republican.”
The funeral was held on Saturday then we all gathered at the house afterwards for barbecue to celebrate her life and to welcome John Luke. We decided it would be a “Celebration of Life” party to say goodbye to our oldest family member and to welcome our newest.
We will miss you Aunt Carol. You will forever live in our hearts.
John Luke has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few weeks and is in to everything!! He is pulling up in his crib, crawling all over the place, and even saying momma. It sounds more like ma ma ma, ma-ma. Josh and I will talk to him and say ma ma, or da da. We’ve had this joke going to see which he would say first.
He is learning to clap his hands, and loves to clack his tongue. He is definetely learning his voice. When he gets really happy he will screech and scream excitedly. He’s even been a little hoarse lately discovering all the sounds he can make with that little voice box of his.
We’ve had to drop the crib twice already. We noticed one day he was trying to pull up in his crib, so we dropped the mattress. It’s a good thing. The very next day he figured out how to pull up all the way. We decided to drop the mattress to the lowest level to be safe. He was already peering over the side trying to figure out a way to get out!
We had kept the camera for the monitor hung to the side of his crib. He got curious about it one day and pulled the camera into the crib, then started using it for a teether. I kept hearing a noise from the nursery, so I looked at the monitor and saw his eyeball staring right into the camera. He had pulled it into himself and started gumming it. The camera has since been moved to the dresser.
He is fascinated with opening and closing drawers and cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, so we put safety locks on this week. We left one cabinet with Tupperware so he will still have a cabinet to play in.
I think he’s going to like camping in tents someday. He loves to crawl under things. One of his favorite things to do is crawl under his swing, or under the coffee table to play. Since he has outgrown his swing (we boxed it up this week), and he keeps hitting his head on the coffee table, we bought him a play tent with a tunnel for the family room.
People tell me we are getting to the fun age. I love watching his personality develop and seeing what he likes and doesn’t like. Hearing his words for the first time, etc. Josh and I noticed tricycles at a department store the other day, and talked about how much we have to look forward to in the coming years. The fun (and trials) have only just begun…
John Luke and I went to Atlanta for a “girls getaway” this past weekend with my sis-n-law, mother-n-law, and two nieces. Before the trip, I was excited to see my family, but nervous at the same time. I often get panicky driving in heavy traffic such as Atlanta. I also know that if I succumb to my fears, I will never go anywhere, and John Luke will miss out on exciting adventures like traveling to different places.
So with determination and resolve, we headed off to the big city. I live in a small town with a population of about 5,104 people (2011 census). It’s on the outskirts of a larger town with a population 63,815 people (2011 census). You can get on the other side of town within 20 minutes.
I’m glad we went despite my fears. I was nervous about the thought of him getting fussy as we got into Atlanta traffic. We ended up getting lost, but the important thing is we arrived alive and made the effort to see our family. We ate dinner at the hotel Friday night, then spent some time in our room catching up before going to bed.
The next day we had brunch at the hotel, then my family went on to the American Girl store while John Luke and I stayed at the room to do my motherly duties (pumping). I met them later at the store, and was quickly amazed at the craze of the American Girl phenomenon. I guess it’s like the frenzy of the Cabbage Patch dolls which were popular when I was a girl. My nieces even had personal shoppers to help them pick out their purchases. I think I’m in trouble if I have a girls next time around!
Saturday evening we did some shopping at the mall, then ate at the American Girl Bistro. My nieces were so cute dining with their dolls. The waitress even brought John Luke a boy doll to the table. It was so funny, I think J L thought the doll was real. J L kept babbling, and trying to touch him.
Back at our room, John Luke was fascinated with the floor length mirrored closet door. He kept “talking” to the baby in the mirror. I’m not sure if the thought it was someone else, or if he was just amused by his reflection. He even kissed himself a couple of times.