Monday, April 23, 2018

Graham 12 Months

Weight: 17 lbs 12 oz (+7 oz)

Size Clothes: Starting to grow into 12 month stuff

Night Sleep: Big changes to report since last month!!! I had been getting Graham up every night to nurse him before I went to sleep in hopes that it would help him sleep better at night. On the nights that I didn't do that, he would wake up between 11:00 and 12:00 in addition to waking up around 3:00 a.m., so I just continued the "dream feed" because I didn't know how to break the habit and I was worried that dropping that meant he would wake me up at least two times every night. Right after Graham turned 11 months old, though, I talked to a sleep coach who gave me some tips for cutting the dream feed and the middle of the night feed. On April 1 we dropped the dream feed for good! It's hard to believe that it's already been three weeks since I've fed him before I went to bed, but it is so freeing. I'm happy to report that as of the night of April 16 we dropped the middle of the night feed! For the first couple of nights I went in and comforted him a couple of times during the night when he woke up, but as of April 18 he has slept all night without my help! I can hardly believe I am saying this since a month ago I felt like this was impossible, but I have now gone an entire week without feeding Graham between the hours of 7:30/8:00 p.m. and 6:15/6:45 a.m. It's still not a full 12 hours like a baby "should" be doing, but I am satisfied as this sleep schedule actually works well with the other kids' schedule. Friends, let me know if you want the contact info of the sleep coach that I used as I don't know that Graham (and I) would be sleeping this well without her advice and encouragement!

Naps: Graham’s naps have still been going fairly well. I made a few changes with these after talking to the sleep coach which I'm sure helped his night sleep. 1) I no longer nurse him before naps so that he doesn't associate sleep with nursing. Once in awhile I still have to nurse him before because our schedule will be thrown off (Sundays are hard since church is during nap time so basically everything looks different for nursing and napping on Sundays). 2) I moved up his morning nap a little bit as I was putting him down closer to 10:00 and now it's more like 9:15/9:30. 3) I no longer let him nap until he wakes up. He has a set nap window (with a little flexibility since our days don't always follow a rigid schedule), and even if it takes him awhile to fall asleep I still wake him from his naps at the same time (+/- 15 minutes). This helps keep him on a more predictable schedule for playing and eating. His morning nap is usually from about 9:30-11:30, and his afternoon nap is from about 2:00/2:30-3:30/4:00. Sometimes it takes him awhile to fall asleep for his afternoon nap, but he generally he 3-3.5 hours of naps each day. For me the morning nap is the most important since the big kids are in preschool three mornings a week and that is when I do work for my job, so the afternoon nap ends up being shorter. 

Nursing: Because we dropped the dream feed and the middle of the night feed, Graham now nurses for about 35 minutes a day spread over four nursing sessions (morning, after each of his naps, and before bed) instead of the  1 hour of nursing spread over six nursing sessions that he was doing a month ago.

Solids: Some days Graham loves to eat and some days he doesn't. From what I've read this is fairly normal for babies, though. His current favorite foods are breakfast sausage, Chick Fil A grilled nuggets, vegan & gluten free mac n cheese, strawberries, grapes, and bananas. He also likes toast with butter, Coconut milk yogurt in a straw cup, baked chicken, gluten free chicken nuggets, blueberries, and a variety of baby food pouches. He hasn't been very interested in vegetables, so the pouches are an easier way to make sure he is eating those since it's a combination of fruits and vegetables. When I write out what he likes to eat it sounds like a lot of processed meats, but I am struggling a bit to find foods he CAN eat that he is excited about since I can't give him the standard gluten and dairy products that I give our other kids. So no judgment please :).

I promise there was only ice left in my lemonade cup at this point, but he really wanted it ;)

Graham's first time eating dinner in the backyard. We love doing this during the spring since the weather is beautiful. In the summer it just gets too hot for this in ABQ.

Food Intolerances:
I’m using the “dairy ladder” to slowly introduce dairy into Graham’s diet. We started with baked in dairy for a few days, then we tried butter, and after that we tried milk in gluten free pancakes. Thankfully he did great with all of those foods! The next step was yogurt, though, and I only gave him a few bites but he ended up spitting up three times over the 24 hours after he ate it. It was just small amounts of spit up but, considering that he almost never spits up, I felt like that was a sign that his body wasn’t tolerating it well. Once I feel like that is no longer effecting him I plan to trial gluten. We will continue to give him the dairy products that he can tolerate and we'll try yogurt again in another month or two.

Cruising furniture: He's not doing this a ton, but he's definitely capable of it. He's just at that stage where it's still faster for him to get down and crawl to the other side of the couch than to cruise there. 

I don't have photos of him cruising furniture, but he also enjoys cruising on the motorcycle

Walking while holding our hands: Depending on his mood, he can do about 10 steps this way.

Practicing standing without holding on: He is so proud when we catch him doing this!
Pulling up properly: He has finally figured out how to bend his leg and plant his foot on the ground to stand up instead of rolling over his toes. He has spent a lot of time practicing this and now he has it mastered. 

I don't think he's really using the window much here, but he can also let go completely for a few seconds

No more army crawl: He now crawls on hands and knees 100% of the time.

Because Graham is a much faster crawler now, the gate is up

He spends a lot of time watching the big kids through the gate if they take the time to move their toys into the other room

When the big kids don't want to move their toys to the other side of the gate, they often block Graham out of the family room with their chairs and a basket full of magnets. He stands there and watches them, but I'm sure he'll figure out how to move the barrier soon!

No new ones...still has front 8. Sometimes he grinds his teeth, which he thinks is funny, but it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me 😬. He has been going through a biting phase so I keep thinking that other teeth will make an appearance soon! One day he even bit Faith on the cheek, which was both surprising and very painful.

Likes: Chasing a ball around the house with big siblings, playing outside on the trampoline (crawling on it, not jumping of course), being tickled, looking out the bedroom windows, looking at books, and just being outside. 

Jack was excited to have matching coats with Graham

Trying to stand up on the trampoline

A picnic at the zoo

He can actually sit and look at books for quite awhile

With his friend Peregrine

With his friend Max

Dislikes: Toys being taken away from him and being touched by other curious babies.

Speech: Graham says “ball” whenever he’s playing with a ball. He signs “more” when eating, which looks like a clap or he makes one hand into a fist and one hand is flat, and it’s super cute. He is suddenly much more vocal when he is mad or frustrated as he seems to have figured out that crying and making a lot of noise gets a response (I think he learned that from his big siblings!).

Places he’s been: We haven’t been getting out much so nothing new to report here. He did get to ride in a grocery cart a few times this month and he also got a new convertible car seat so we are no longer using the infant bucket seat.

First Easter: Graham got an Easter basket with a few goodies, although the chocolate bunny wasn't really for him. We enjoyed an Easter Service at our church followed by cinnamon rolls, bacon, and mimosas and then Easter egg hunts for all of the kids under 10 (they did three separate hunts so Graham only had to compete with other babies, which was hilarious since none of them really understood the concept). 

Graham read the ingredients right away and realized he couldn't eat the bunny...maybe next year!

Alexis, Faith, Graham, and Jack

Church photo booth after the egg hunts

Things he does to make us smile: Our whole family just adores Graham, so pretty much everything he does makes us smile!

On Graham's birthday I asked the big kids, "What do you like best about having a baby brother?"
Alexis: Cuddling him 
Jack: Playing swords 
Faith: Getting slobbery hugs

Playing swords

At the zoo
Alexis reading him a book
Our family band singing for Grammy's birthday

Graham's First Birthday

We had a very low-key birthday celebration with our family. We had dinner in the backyard, during which Graham whined until I gave him some of my chicken sausage which he apparently really wanted! The other kids think it's too spicy so I didn't think Graham would like it, but apparently he has very different tastebuds than they do. After dinner we arranged the cupcakes into a "1" just like we did when our other kids turned 1 and took photos, we all helped Graham open a few presents, we sang Happy Birthday, and then Graham got to eat his first ever cupcake (which was of course dairy, soy, and gluten free). He seemed to enjoy it, although I'm not sure how much he actually ended up eating. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

We Survived Year One

This past week we have been remembering Graham's birth and the events before and after his birth. My contractions started on Thursday morning and Graham wasn't born until 2:50 a.m. on Saturday. To me my labor seemed long as I didn't really know what to expect (I never went into labor with my triplet pregnancy), and by the time Graham was born I had not slept much in 48 hours. During my labor the kids and Micah all came down with a horrible cold (ear infections, terrible cough, and pink eye for the kids, and a sinus infection for Micah), so there was a part of me that wanted to stay at the hospital longer since I didn't want to expose a tiny baby to so many germs. I did end up catching the cough and cold from the kids, but thankfully Graham was okay.

On top of everyone being sick, breastfeeding was extremely difficult. I so badly wanted to breastfeed since I wasn't able to do so with our triplets, but it was excruciatingly painful. I dreaded nursing him because of how painful it was for me, and in those early weeks I could only nurse him away from the older kids because it hurt so badly that I couldn't even hold a conversation. Thankfully I figured out, through numerous Google searches and talking to friends, that Graham had a top lip tie. When Graham was about 4 weeks old we got that lasered, and nursing him became so much easier for me. Looking back I'm surprised I persevered through the pain, but that goes to show how important breastfeeding was to me this time around. I knew that Graham would be fine on formula since that is how our other babies were fed, but I really wanted the breastfeeding experience. He did get a few ounces of formula in the early weeks simply to give my body a break from the pain, but when he had that we noticed an increase in spit up / vomit, which makes sense now that we know he has a milk protein intolerance.

Unfortunately, Graham projectile vomited massive amounts every day starting when he was about two weeks old. Our other babies spit up frequently, but this was completely different as he would only do it 1-2 times a day, but when he did it would be like a fountain as it would shoot out of him. Most days I became completely soaked in the process. He also had specks of dark blood and mucous in his stool. After more Google searches, talking with friends, and multiple trips to the pediatrician, I decided to cut out dairy and soy from my diet. Although that helped some, a couple of weeks later I cut out gluten as well and that did the trick. After cutting dairy, soy, and gluten from my diet, Graham very, very rarely spit up and his diapers became completely normal. Eating this way has not been easy, especially when it comes to eating out and social events, but it didn't take long for me to become used to cooking this way for myself.

On top of the breastfeeding issues and food intolerances, Graham wasn't a great napper, so it was hard to find a few minutes for myself (he mostly liked to nap in the Ergo carrier). And even though he is a pretty consistent napper now, there really isn't much room for downtime since during his naps I am either working (while the kids are at preschool), taking care of things around the house, or doing stuff with the big kids. And, up until a week ago, I was still nursing him during the night. When I write all of this out, I can see why I feel so tired all of the time.

This past weekend I was able to attend portions of my church's women's retreat. Thankfully the retreat took place at a B&B in ABQ so, although most women stayed on site all weekend, there were some of us that went back and forth for various reasons. Although it would have been great to be fully present at the retreat, I appreciated that I could attend all of the sessions and still be home to nurse Graham pretty much on our normal schedule. (Ironically, although breastfeeding got off to a difficult start, he now won't take a bottle so I don't even have the option to leave him for more than 5 or so hours during the day). The fact that the retreat fell on Graham's birthday weekend was completely coincidence, but to me it felt like a turning point in my life. The first year with a baby is hard, and Graham has been no exception, but we made it through the first year and I was finally able to do something 'for myself.'

I know so many mothers have more difficult situations than my own, so I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm complaining. I was just taken off guard with the hurdles we experienced during Graham's first year of life as we truly believed one baby would be "easy." Yes, in some ways he is easy, but in many ways he isn't. So, friends, to those of you that have said I'm your "hero" for having triplets, and for those that feel like they can't vent about their one child to me because I have triplets, I want you to know that having a baby is hard no matter what.

My hope is that the next year with Graham is easier for me and that I can start getting out more regularly with friends and to run and climb, but if it doesn't happen I'm going to continue to give myself grace because in the sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion of raising kids, sometimes grace is the best gift we can give ourselves.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Graham 11 Months

How is it that our baby is only one month away from turning 1?!!! I still refer to him as “The Baby” all of the time to strangers and acquaintances, which he is of course, but that makes him sound like he’s an infant when in reality he is closer to being a toddler. This has by far been the fastest year of our lives because we have been so busy with our four kids, and also Micah has been incredible busy at work. Plus I am working very part time from home and we’ve been making progress on our main floor update, so we haven’t had a lot of time to sit back and enjoy the days. But it’s been a memorable year nevertheless.

Newly painted railing and walls, and Graham climbing the stairs

The before (after I started painting a little)

Before and After of the kitchen cabinets

Age: 11 months

Weight: 17 lbs 5 oz (+ 11 oz)...consistently in the 4th-5th percentile for height and weight

Size Clothes: He’s finally starting to outgrow 9 month clothes, but they mostly still fit.

Night Sleep: Graham has had a hard time going to bed most nights during the past month. I try to put him down around 7:30/8:00, but most nights he screams until we get him back up. He usually goes to bed for real between 9:00 and 10:00, which means we don’t get much of a kid-free evening. He then wakes up 1-2 times during the night to nurse. Hoping this changes soon!

Yelling at the camera when he didn't want to sleep

Naps: Naps are still going well with him sleeping 1.5-2 hours both morning and afternoon. I have tried waking him from his afternoon nap earlier to see if it helped at night but it hasn’t.

Nursing: Graham nurses first thing in the morning, before his naps, and at bedtime. I also nurse him before I go to sleep at night and 1-2x during the night when he wakes up. According to my app, I now spend about an hour nursing in a 24 hour period.

Solids: Graham eats three small meals a day. For one he has a pouch and some Cheerios or some other finger food like fruit to keep him occupied. For another meal he eats a smoothie or just coconut milk yogurt in a straw cup with a little water so that he can drink it through a straw, plus a finger food. For dinner he generally just eats a little of what we are having cut up in small bites, and the rest of his pouch from earlier if he didn’t finish it. Overall he seems to enjoy food!

He loves eating from pouches independently 

Food Intolerances: Nothing new...still avoiding dairy, gluten, and soy.

Milestones: Graham has been crawling on hands and knees, instead of army crawling, more and more. He can easily get into the sitting position, he plays on tall knees all of the time, and he claps! He has also started to point and he can climb up half a flight of stairs. He enjoys pulling himself up on everything, although he still does it the “wrong” way most of the time as he pulls himself up by his arms instead of putting his foot on the floor and pushing off.

Getting his foot down to stand up the "right way"

Exploring the backyard

Teeth: No new ones...just the 8 he’s has for awhile, but I think more will come in soon by how he’s been acting.

Likes: Making silly noises like blowing raspberries, especially when we do it back. Being tossed in the air by Daddy. Being silly with the big kids. Eating food and drinking from a straw cup. Swinging at the park. Playing outside. Putting everything in his mouth.

Dislikes: Getting his face cleaned. Sitting in his high chair after he decides he is done with it. Having toys taken away from him.

Speech: No new sounds (mama, dada, baba, blows raspberries, makes gurgle noises in throat).

Places he’s been: We haven’t gone anywhere, but Grammy was here a few weeks ago to help us out, Grandpa and Grandma came a couple of days later for five days, and then Grammy came back the next day to stay for a week (partly to help me while Micah does a ski race he’s been training for). Because of all of the visitors, Graham has been sleeping in Jack’s room since his room doubles as the guest room.

His crib in Jack's room temporarily

Things he does to make us smile: Crawling over to me to be picked up as I don’t remember our other kids doing this until they got older. Feeding himself. Making cute noises. Playing with his siblings.