Can we just take a moment to laugh at how I thought I would have SO MUCH time to write Leo’s announcement/birth story as well as keep up with baby blog updates? (Let’s not get started on my basic hygiene levels.) I’m even doubtful this one gets complete before I have to change the title to “Leonardo Joseph – Year 1.”
I mean, he will be three months old next week. WE ARE ALREADY A QUARTER OF THE WAY THERE! Wahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
While one of my eyes is closed right now (that counts as sleep, right?), we have been having so much fun with our little buddy! He has made our universe so small and so big at the same time – I find myself just staring at him most hours of the day, totally in awe that he a) grew in my belly, b) is growing like crazy and c) has made every bit of our past, present and future make perfect sense. Or that this much love could exist – some days, I actually feel like my heart may burst from love overload.
Because I have been so busy gazing at our little lion (and well, feeding him, cleaning him, rocking him, playing with him, etc) I have been behind on getting all of the little and big moments in writing (besides the scribbled notes on my phone during the 1 a.m., 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. feedings, take your pick). I also had no idea that the teeny newborn phase lasts all of two weeks – Leo’s cubbier cheeks, fuller belly and thunder thighs came at me out of nowhere, and this mama – while so happy that her baby is growing nice and healthy – gets pretty emotional every day because of it. My little baby isn’t such a little baby anymore! Okay, he is still really little – you moms of 5, 10 and 26 year olds are probably cursing at me right now- but I just feel like these days are flying by and he is growing quicker than I can catch up with.
But…that’s how the rest of this story goes, right? I’ve just accepted my position as mama hawk, studying his every move every minute of every day, as I know that by tomorrow, he will change again!
Also, I’ve taken at least 3,000 pictures of him on my phone so far. Not exaggerating one bit.
Also, the most below is stupid long and I expect no one but my mom to read it. I will try to contain myself a bit more in the three-month update. Key word, “try.”
Highlights: Well, being born for starters! Leo came into this world with a gentle roar – he barely cried, so much so that the nurses had to prod him a little bit more when he was laying on my chest to hear his vocal chords – and the world before he arrived doesn’t seem to exist anymore. His first month was filled with so much joy, tons of family and friends, a lot of happy tears (I can’t tell you how many times I was caught crying because “i just love him so much”) and daily adventures of being a family of three. :) We are learning more and more about out little lion every day and about everything and anything that goes into being parents! He makes us look like pros though, as he is a content, calm and very happy baby. Oh, did I also mention he is PERFECT?!
Growth chart: Leo weighed 7 lbs, 5 ounces at birth. At his one week, he was up to 7 lbs 8 ounces, at two weeks he was 8 lbs 3 ounces and at his one month check in, Leo clocked in at 9 lbs, 9 ounces. He also grew taller – he was born as 20.25 inches, and at his one month check in he was 21 and 3/4 inches. Told you he is growing like a weed!
Leo’s favorite things: The usual suspects – Leo loves to eat, sleep and poop. On a three-hour rotation. Which means that, for the most part, we are getting to eat, sleep and poop, too!
But when he is up, he can be found stretching like crazy (he takes forever to wake up, just like his mom!), sticking his tongue out, hiccuping like a sailor (he hiccups at least 2-3 times a day, which is as much as he used to hiccup in my belly!) and cuddling on all of us. He also is a fan of kicking his legs around in his crib, laying on blankets for tummy time, and all of the ridiculous faces we make at him all day long.
I am so lucky that he took to breastfeeding right away, and that he is a pretty hilarious eater. For someone so tiny, he sure can make a ruckus when he eats! He kicks his legs, grunts and moves his head around pretty much every time he eats, unless he is super sleepy. When he gets sleepy during eating, I usually blow cool breath on his little belly, which wakes him right up. When he does fall asleep while eating, I just lay there and study every centimeter of his little body and bask in awe of the miracle that he is.
Leo loves to sleep in his Rock and Play, and he LOVES to sleep with his hands up by his face. Seriously…HE IS AN ANGEL.
My favorite things about Leo: Oh, SO MANY things! I could go on for hours, but here are the top things:
- I love how he looks when I prop him up after breastfeeding, and the stiff back and side eye he gives me as I turn him to burp. Seriously, he makes me laugh so hard every time! He is always so hungry and eats so quick that afterwards he is always very milk drunk. (Ah, his milk drunk face! He also had a few nights of total milk drunk daze – his eyes would get really, really big and he would just stare off in a distance for a few minutes before realizing he was only 1 week old and would then pass out again.)
- How long it takes him to wake up, and how I can just watch him stretch and look around in the rock and play. He is a very content baby, and only cries when he is super hungry or if you are messing with him. Like when you try and change his diaper before you feed him. NOT COOL, MOM.
- How he always pees and poops the second we put a clean diaper on him. Even love when he has peed on me a few times – you can’t help but laugh, especially at 2 a.m. when he gets me out of nowhere! I am learning to avoid being in direct shooting range.
- How he kicks around when we lay him flat on his back, and how he is starting to find his voice. Also love how his top leg always kicks out when he is eating!
- I love how he loves the Boba wrap and in general, just loves being held close. During week 3, he began to grasp onto my shirt tank top straps, almost as if to make sure I didn’t go anywhere!
- The little cuddle bug he is! Especially towards the end of the month, when he was a bit fussier. He seemed to only want his mama, which I not-so-secretly loved! Although he does wake up in the middle of the night, I mainly lose sleep because I choose to hold him after he eats before putting him back in his Rock and Play.
- While it keeps me up at night…his loud grunts in his sleep. Think we may have a case of “grunting baby syndrome” on our hands!
- I love his burp face! Matt always gets the best burps out of him, (like grown man burps) which is the best for Leo and for me as I get to watch his hilarious little face while Daddy works his burping magic.
Special visitors: We have had so many wonderful visitors this month! They’ve come from all over to meet our little guy and to help this new mommy and daddy figure things out. Mama Ro was here for weeks 1 and 2 (even got to see Leo in the hospital!), and Grandma Kathy was here for weeks 2 and 3! Papa Izzo also drove up from Jacksonville to meet his newest grandson. Leo met a ton of his aunts and uncles, including his Uncle Paul and Uncle Stephen, Aunt Amy and Aunt Janice! He also got to meet his cousins Abby, Zach and Anna. :)
And during those weeks, so many people popped in an out including Leo’s Uncle Paul, Uncle Stephen, plus our friends Kristin, Matt and Emily (Leo’s future wife), Claire and Alex. We also met a lot of the neighbors we hadn’t really gotten to know before, plus met an awesome couple down the street and their little newborn baby girl!
Tiny milestones: Leo took both a pacifier and a bottle during week 4! He started to get a but fussier than normal, thanks to the 4 week growth spurt, so I finally gave into the pacifier when he was inconsolable one night. He loved it, and of course, I was the one who wound up sobbing at how big and cute he looked with it.
I also decided to start pumping by week 4, as I was finding that some days it was impossible to leave the house for more than one hour without needing to rush home. I was worried that he wouldn’t take it (i mean come on, my boobs are so much better!) but kinda knew that deep down…this kid just loves eating. So of course, after me being all stressed, he took the bottle down like the little champ he is. And then I cried like the total mess I am. :)
Even though he took the bottle, I still prefer to breastfeed when and wherever possible. Because of this, Leo dined al fresco a few times on the downtown trail, in the car and in the middle of lunch outside.
Parenting lessons learned:
- Just because we want to go have a picnic in the park does not mean Leo wants to.
- Do not stand in the pee line of fire.
- Wait for a few minutes after the first poop. There will be more.
- It is okay if you don’t go outside or shower for a few days. Hold the baby instead…it is a more than fair trade off.
- Teamwork makes the dream work – Matt often times would feed me while I fed Leo.
- SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. Or…go to Target. Both have their mental health benefits.
- Time really does fly, and babies get bigger by the second.
- I am going to cry happy tears every day for the rest of my life…it isn’t just the post-pregnancy hormones.
Highlights: Month two brought us a whole lot more Leo (he is filling out by the second) as well as more visitors, more snuggles and more happiness as we got to celebrate my first Mother’s Day! We went through another growth spurt and a Wonder Week leap, which meant Leo filled out AND gained new developmental skills! Also meaning he had a few fussy days and nights, but then went back to his normal calm, happy, easy breezy baby self. Leo also earned his wings, as he took his first flight (in a first class upgrade, to the delight of his parents and to the detriment of all business travelers) to North Carolina to see his Aunt Sarah tie the knot! He also learned to express his happy little baby self and flashed us his first non-poop smile, with many more after that. Oh, AND he took more bottles. And then refused to take them. And then took them again. I got to leave the house for like 2 hours once. It was awesome.
Growth Chart: At Leo’s two-week appointment, he weighed in at a whopping 11 pounds, 6 ounce and stretched to 23.25 inches! That is four pounds and three inches since he was born. My baby boy is getting so chunky and it is the best! Except that he grew out of his newborn jammies. I was in denial of it for a good week, until my mom pointed out that he couldn’t stretch his legs fully and that it was somewhat cruel to keep squeezing him in them. Three month jammies it is…wahhhh!
Leo’s Favorite Things:
- What up, world? While he still loves to eat (obvious from the growth spurt above), poop and sleep, Leo has started to become much more interested in life outside of those three things. He is much more alert, staying awake for longer periods of time (and waking more often at night to eat, which I didn’t expect and am really enjoying) and watching our every move. He stares in deep concentration at things, faces and objects for a long time, and is now reacting and interacting more with them. He will follow an object as you move it from side to side and up and down with his eyes, and is much more active when we lay him on his activity mat.
- Our remodeling trips to Home Depot were worth it: Leo found a new, true and deep love in our ceiling fans, especially the larger one we have in our living room. He immediately tilts his head up to stare at it whenever I sit down on the couch to feed him. I’ve also noticed his affinity for light coming through the blinds, as well as any sort of shadows on the wall and light coming through the tree branches in our backyard. According to the Wonder Weeks app (which I am obsessed with), this is right on target with the developmental leap of patterns.
- Tummy tummy tummy time: Tummy time is now hit or miss – he would rather make cooing noises and suck on his hand than lift his head. Which, since he has been lifting it up whenever we have him sitting up or carrying him around, I am okay with. The noises he makes while on his belly are pretty adorable.
- Smiling my favorite: Oh, and did I mention the smiling?! The smiling! He started flashing his toothless grin around 6 weeks, but it was still very elusive and you had to work for it (unless he was pooping, then you got it either way). Towards the end of the month he was definitely beginning to smile a lot more in reaction to us and the riculoud faces and sounds we make at him 24/7. Matt did a little “workout” with Leo one night after a bath, where he raised his arms up and down and back and forth, which got us our first HUGE Leo grin and even a little laugh. I still don’t think I am fully recovered from the puddle of mush I instantly became.
Our Favorite Things about Leo:
If anyone is still reading this…
- That smile. Duh.
- How much he lovessss his mama! Sometimes to a fault – baby boy would rather sleep on me or pass out in the Boba wrap than anywhere else.
- How much he loves his daddy – he stares at Matt like no other, and will thankfully also pass out on him within minutes.
- How much he loves his Mama Ro – my mom was the Leo nap and smile whisperer for the two weeks she was here this month. No joke, the second she started talking to him he smiled, and the second she picked him up he fell asleep. Needless to say, I was quite the baby myself when she left.
- His face and lip smacking when we give him gripe water – we may have a natural remedy addict on our hands.
- How he deals with his active mom and dad, and is totally fine (for the most part) in his stroller for long walks on the trail and around our neighborhood in this already unbearable Texas heat. Normally towards the end he seeks air conditioning and a boob, but we get a good stretch of a curious, content or sleeping baby for a few miles.
- How he straightens his legs and actually kicks/stands up on my nursing when I am burping him up on my shoulder. He wraps his little arms around my neck in a chokehold and stands straight up. It is pretty hilarious!
- Watching him stare at the ceiling fan and other contrasts in our house. He also loves going outside in our backyard and looking around at the lawn, the trees and the sky. It is amazing to watch him watch things, knowing that he is absorbing everything and building up brainpower.
- His dance moves when he is laying flat on his back. Little boy LOVES to move, which I have known from the moment I felt him my belly! He never stopped moving around.
- All of the stretches and faces he makes when trying to wake up – I wonder if he will continue to be a slow waker when I’m trying to get him up for high school!
- What an amazing traveler and wedding partier he is! On the way to NC, he only fussed a bit on the plane, which was nothing a boob or two couldn’t fix! He did decide to poop everywhere, but thankfully didn’t make it apparent to me until we were off the plane and had access to a much larger changing table. And he SO good at Sarah’s wedding, never crying and being totally okay with totally strangers holding him as the night went on. He barely napped he was parting so hard, and that night blessed his mama and day with a straight SEVEN hour sleep stretch. Never been done before, or never been done since as I type. :)
Not so favorite things for all of us: His two-month vaccination shots. I really can’t tell you who cried harder, me or Leo, but I can tell you that while he will never remember them, I will be scared for life. And probably sitting in the car while he gets his round next month as Matt can only take care of one baby at a time.
Sleeping and not-so-sleeping beauty: Because of his newfound wonder of the world around him, our little boy doesn’t just pass out for naps whenever, wherever like he did in the first month. Now we have to actively get him to nap, rocking and singing around the house until his little eyelids droop. Towards the end of the month, around weeks 6 and 7, those eyelids pop right back open the second you try and put him down in his crib! The crib transfer has been somewhat of an art.
We have also started to transition him from the Rock and Play sleeper to his crib for naps during the day and the Pack and Play at night. Not sure if this is why was are hit or miss, or if why he is continuing to wake up frequently at night, but I figured I’d rather fight this sleeping transition battle now than at four months! Plus I want him to sleep flat on his back at all times now that he is a bit bigger and beginning to be more wiggly at night.
However, I am a very lucky mama in that while he does wake up frequently to nurse at night, he is a sleepy boy and is usually passed out while I am trying to burp him. I don’t think much else can make me laugh harder at 2 a.m. than trying to prop his little sleepy body upright to gently try and get a burp out of him. I still let him sleep on me for a good 20 minutes or so after he eats to make sure it all goes down, which contributes to my daily exhaustion but…those minutes are also my favorite. I know someday I will wish he would still want to snuggle in bed with his mama, and that this time will go by faster than I ever thought it could. Plus…there is always more coffee to be had, right?
Special visitors: Leo had a lot of love again this month, with all sorts of visitors coming in to see him! His Aunt Janice kicked off the month with her visit from Buffalo, filled with walks on the trail, a lot of morning cuddles and really good food! My mom came in right as Janice left, which was good because I was so sad to see her go! Mama Ro stayed for two weeks, and during that time we had a lot of amazing family and friends pop in and out to meet Leo, including his Aunt Kyra, Aunt Torri, Aunt Steph and Aunt Amalia!
Parenting lessons learned:
- Whoever says that their one or two month old sleeps through the night is either lying or an actual magician. But most likely lying.
- The phrase “let’s watch a movie” really means “let’s watch the first 30 minutes, then let’s stop it for a bit and then you can play it while I pretend to watch as I whisper sing Baby Beluga and dance around a dark kitchen with a baby.” We “watched” Lion and Hidden Figures. Can’t tell you much about either, but they seemed promising.
- Always have a clean outfit in your diaper bag. ALWAYS. Oh, and store that outfit in a ziplock bag so you can put the just-dirtied outfit back in it. Thanks again for that tip, Linds. :)
- Never under estimate the power of the outdoors. Instant calm baby.
- Bookbags > diaper bags.
- Taking a baby on a plane is very scary, but as soon as you stop looking for the dirty looks, it gets a whole lot easier.
- Breastfeeding in public is a lot easier once you stop caring about who sees your boobs. Nursing covers can only do so much on a windy day.
- Swaddling is an art and the force is not with me.
- A fun and colorful iPhone case totally counts as an activity object for your baby when you take 200 pictures a day. Mine has moving glitter. #winning
Okay, now I only have one more week until he is 3 months. I’ll brb with that update in 2018.