It has taken several days to write this post! As those of you with little ones know, there is just NO free time right now! We’ve been home with Eli for a little more than a week, and we are all adjusting to being a family. Our sweet baby is 11 months old now!
He is sleeping through the night. R takes him upstairs, rocks him for a few minutes, and then puts him in his crib around 7:00pm. If he cries, it’s only very briefly, and then he’s asleep within 10 minutes. Even though he is taking a morning and an afternoon nap, he gets so tired that he is very to go to sleep when bedtime comes. He sleeps until around 7:00am.
He is not a picky eater. So far, he has not refused anything we have given him! He has been eating stage 2 baby food, and we have just started introducing table foods, now that he is chewing. He gets excited when we feed him. He smiles and bangs on the tray of his highchair, and he’ll cry if we’re not feeding him fast enough! He is not able to feed himself at all at this point. He can’t pick up the food and bring his hand to his mouth. His fine motor coordination is definitely behind. He just doesn’t have much control over his hands yet. He can pick up toys, and he’ll pick up food sometimes, but then he’ll sling it to the side. So for now, we feed him as if he were a much younger baby. It does give us a chance to work on eye contact, and it’s good for attachment. We’re also giving him bottles (Enfamil Lipil), 3 per day. He definitely needed the extra vitamins. We will probably switch him to toddler formula next month, after his 1st birthday.
We are working on attachment. He will initiate eye contact. Sometimes when he’s crawling or playing on the floor, he’ll stop and turn to look at me. He will even make eye contact sometimes when he is eating, and that is a huge improvement. When I carry him, sometimes he’ll hold on now. Unless he’s really upset, he will snuggle against us when we hold him.
Our biggest challenge so far has been his periods of intense behavior/meltdowns. When he reaches his limit, he screams, kicks, waves his arms, shakes his head very fast (like he’s saying no), and/or flails. If we try to hold him, he arches his back and flings himself backwards. At first, we thought this was overstimulation. Last night I did some reading on www.a4everfamily.org, and I realized that it’s not just overstimulation. We are dealing with attachment issues. At times, he feels anxious and doesn’t trust us yet, which makes sense.
When he reaches this point, it is very hard to console him. That has been frustrating to me as a new mother, and as his mother. I want to DO something that will help him to feel better. Sometimes holding him and walking around helps. Sometimes music helps. But often, nothing helps other than putting him down for a nap or to bed a little early, and then he’s so exhausted, he falls asleep right away. We are doing everything we can to stay in a routine, so he feels secure, and to stay calm, so he can be relaxed. So far, we have only been at home. We haven’t taken him out in public (no church, stores, or restaurants). We’re going to continue to actively work on attachment - staying at home, staying close to him, feeding him, giving him bottles, rocking him, eye contact, holding him lots - so that he can feel secure and accept our love.
He LOVES music. When we turn music on, he’ll stop what he’s doing and turn his head! Listening to music will usually calm and relax him. He likes classical, especially Beethoven, Joshua Bell, and the 3 Tenors. He did not respond to Yo Yo Ma or Mozart. He also likes children’s music, especially Raffi, and christian radio. We’ve already talked about how he might need music lessons down the road if this interest continues!
He also loves to ride in the stroller. It is the most adorable thing to see! He puts his thumb in his mouth, and just looks at everything with a very serious expression on his face. I think the movement is calming.
I still look at him in amazement. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that he’s really here with us! God has truly blessed us.
Here are some photos from our 1st week at home: