Y’all. I have so many questions for the universe lately. Like, when will it ever cool down here? And where did that new line on my forehead come from? And of course…how is my baby boy four and half months old?!?! Time, you sneaky sneaky little devil. Stop moving to fast! We live in Texas and it is hotter than hell…so slow your roll please.
Speaking of moving slow…how’s about two months’ worth of updates in one post? Minus the zillions of iPhone pictures that I totally didn’t resize for web and uploaded anyways into the one/two month update? Probably easier for you to just check out my Instagram for more pictures, as I realized that I now only post pictures of Leo.
I can’t help it guys – HE IS JUST SO CUTE. I couldn’t even decide what one photo to include for each month. Or if we should onesie on/off. Because…LOOK AT THAT BELLY!
Also, I know these monthly posts are crazy long and really not relevant to anyone but us and our families. But this has been a really great way to document every detail of our world with Leo in it, and I know I will look back and cherish these run-on sentences someday. You know, when Leo is running around and the days when I hunkered down at the computer instead of sleeping and typed all this out will seem like a dream. So I appreciate all of you for putting up with nothing-but-baby posts for the past year. I promise I’ll write about something else someday. Someday.
Highlights: I will probably say this about every month, but this one has been my favorite yet! While I loved the first two months of Leo’s life, this month was when he started showing us how much he was loving life, too. From smiling to talking to dancing and giggling, our little Leonardo started to show us glimpses of his big personality. Along with his constant physical growth, Leo went through yet another developmental leap this month. He started focusing on objects, following them around with his eyes, as well as grabbing onto his rattle and other small toys. And – we finally got some major neck lift action in tummy time! I know – the things that we get excited about now!
I seriously cannot get enough of him – 24 hours a day, seven days a week just isn’t enough. I want to play with him more, hold him more, sing to him more…more more more of all the things! He is just the happiest little babe.
Growth Chart: At his three-month appointment, Leo clocked in at 13 pounds, 6 ounces! He also grew a bit taller now 23 inches long!
Leo’s Favorite Things:
- Hands hands HANDS: He loves looking at them, flailing them around and trying to stuff them both in his mouth.
- The Great Outdoors: While it is too hot out to spend a lot of time outside, we do a daily stroll around the block as well as an afternoon graze all around our backyard. Leo looks at the trees, the grass, the weeds that are growing everywhere because no one has time for gardening…
- Ceiling fans: DUH.
- Window Treatments: Leo loves looking at our window blinds/curtains and seeing the light come through and make shadows on the wall in the morning.
- On the Lookout: He loves being held facing out so he can see the world. Anytime he is fussy, all you need to do it turn him around and hold him outwards. Instant calm.
- Baby talk! This little boy and I have full conversations all day in “oooooos” and “ahhhhhs” It is the best.
- Rolllll Tide: Leo is rolling like a crazy man to his right side! He does it a lot when sleeping, which means we have started swaddling with his right arm out, and working on both arms out!
- Being all wrapped up: We cruise around constantly with Leo in my new Solly wrap – which is SO MUCH MORE BREATHABLE IN 90 DEGREE HEAT than the Boba. Why I choose to walk around outside in Texas heat with a hot baby fastened to my chest, I’m still not sure.
- Mirror, Mirror: Of course, he loves looking in the mirror like the true Izzo boy he is. :)
Our Favorite Things About Leo:
I know I started this section in the last update, but Imma go ahead and call it: everything about Leo is our favorite. If I had to list it out in every update, this wouldn’t be published until he is 25.
That said, honorable mentions go to: Leo staring at his hands, the huge smile he gives when he sees me or Matt (even in the middle of the night), his new and uncontrollable drool, how he sings along with me, his lip smacking, his bath time face and how he loves to nap with me in our bed in the morning. And how he taps his feet on the countertop when we hold him up before his bath. And how he looks interested in the books we read him but then when I look down at him he is actually just staring at the ceiling fan.
Special visitors: Leo got lots of grandma love again this month, with Grandma Kathy visiting for two weeks! Leo had so much fun going for walks, playing in the house, exploring Austin, taking baths and talking up a storm with her.
Sleeping like a baby: HAHAHAHA. That lasted for about 4 weeks. Nowadays, Leo’s naps are no longer than 45 minutes on the dot (which drove me crazy for awhile, but now I’ve just accepted it and just try and get him down for naps more often) and we still spend a lot of time together in the wee small hours of the morning. Besides wanting to eat, this kid also poops at least one time in the middle of the night. At least…one night we had to change his pajamas THREE times. THREE TIMES! I feel like just when he has successful nights – say, that week where he slept from midnight to 4 a.m., a growth spurt or developmental leap or Mercury goes in retrograde and we are back to every two hour feedings. But, I’ll take what I can get. And that is mostly two hours of sleep at a time.
HOWEVER – none of that matters because when I sing/rock him before naps, he has started singing with me. I sing, he coos. Like, you know those videos of dogs howling to certain songs? Picture that, but in baby form, on my shoulder, a billion times cuter. Little “ooooohhhhhs” and “awwwwoooooos” with his sleepy eyes closing and head heavy on my shoulder. As much as I want him to sleep, I will happily sing to him forever as he coos along.
- You see me rollin’: Leo has is officially on the move. He started rolling to his right side earlier in the month, and by the end of his 3rd month he fully flipped on his belly!
- Shake that thing: The rattle has entered the activity mat. Second after looking at his hands, Leo loves investigating his rattle, turning it from side to side and shaking it dangerously close to his face.
- Tubby time: We finally started taking baths in his baby tub ,after two months of sponge baths on the bed. I don’t know, he just seemed to teeny to put in a tub full of water, no matter how many hands were holding him up! Leo isn’t totally sure about it yet – every time we place his cute little but down in the water he furrows his eyebrows and looks very confused. Then he pees.
- Book (wiggle) worm: We have instituted an actual bedtime routine now, (apparently babies should be in bed before 10 p.m….whoops) and reading a couple of books is totally in the mix. In the beginning of the month, Leo was one squirmy reader (like an actual book worm) but by the end of the month he would sit still and actually seem like he was paying attention. One night while we were reading the fabulous “If I were a Lion” book, he actually reached forward and touched the lion’s fuzzy mane. Happy accident or total baby genius.
- First Father’s Day: We had an awesome day celebrating Matt, including an unsuccessful attempt at making him a Father’s Day gift featuring Leo’s fingerprints. When I finally was able to claw open his little digits and stuffed them on the ink pad, he immediately put his hands everywhere but the intended target. Poor baby had ink under his fingernails for days, I had ink all over my white shirt and Matt’s gift had zero trace of it, anywhere. Here’s to his Christmas gift?
- Look Who’s Talking: Leo has been an increasinlgy babbling baby this month! From little “ooos” to big “ohhhh, ohhh ohhhhhs” (you HAVE to watch him in action), it has been so hilarious and simply magical to watch this boy find his voice.
- Swaddle FREE: After Leo started rolling, we started swaddling him with one arm out. By the very last days of this month, we started putting him to bed in his sleep sack, arms free to move about the crib. So far, the transition isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!
Parenting Lessons Learned:
- Warm bath water = pee. He gets me every time!
- I am very good at baby talk, and sometimes it is the only language I speak for days at a time.
- I am very bad at swaddling, as Leo always winds up with both arms out no matter how tight I attempt to trap him in there. Which is why I am SO happy we are almost, almost out of this straightjacket phase!
Highlights: Okay, okay, I know I said last month was my favorite. BUT YOU GUYS! This month has been so fun too! I swear, each day Leo has me in total awe. He is learning all the things all of the time, and watching him as he discovers the world has been, hands down, the best experience of my life. Sometimes I lie next to him on the floor while he is looking up at the ridiculous things hanging from his activity mat, and just watch his eyes as they dart around from one thing to the next, taking it all in. I want to know everything he is seeing and feeling all of the time, which is probably why he will have attachment issues in the future bc I seriously never leave him alone! I am working on the independent play thing, I swear.
If three months was all about Leo giving us glimpses of his personality, four months was Leo showing it off! He continues to be the happiest baby in the world, always waking up with a big smile and double time leg kicks. He is content wherever he is – on his play mat, in his rocker, in the carseat, out on walks in the BOB or in the Solly wrap, or, as we never can have enough Leo snuggle time, in his mom or dad’s arms!
Want to know another place he is the perfect baby? ON THE PLANE, re: Seattle section below.
Growth chart: We haven’t had his four-month appointment yet, so not sure how much weight or inches he’s gained this month. (Our appointment is this afternoon and includes four-month shots. Wahhhhh) But from the way his clothes fit and the way my right arm feels after a day of holding him, it’s safe to say he is getting bigger by the day! Sometimes I swear he wakes up from a nap and he looks bigger. I can’t take it.
Leo’s Favorite Things:
- Being an energizer bunny: This baby does not.stop.moving! Leo is much more aware of the world around him now, and so he is constantly looking around to see what is going on at all times. He turns his head back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, which is hilarious except when I’m trying to sing him songs and get him sleepy – he’s not about that head resting on my chest anymore, y’all. :/ Which is why I think I don’t mind the nighttime feedings so much (sometimes). I’ll take all of the snuggles I can still get! He is just starting to become distracted while eating – he will hear a noise or I will talk to Matt and his little face immediately pops off my boob, milk all over his cheeks and he just looks at me like, “what did you say?”
- Being curiously concentrated: For as much as he looks around, when he finds something he likes he focuses so intently on it. While I stare at him, he stares back, taking in my face and all of the funny faces and movements I make. It is amazing to see him try and respond or replicate what I am doing, whether it is saying “oooooo” or sticking my tongue out. You can see his little mind working as he tries to put it all together!
- Sticking out that perfect pout: Sticking out his little pout at night when he’s done eating and passed out. I always wipe his little lips and cheeks softly, and smile so big (even with tired eyes) when I see and feel those puckered lips. Okay, so this is my favorite thing (and has been since he was born) but it melts my heart every time.
- Bathtime, sometimes: He still has that “what the hell is going on” look on his face whenever we put him in the tub, but a few seconds in he relaxes and attempts to have fun/splash his legs up and down. Or, he just pees on me.
- His Baby Merlin/Marshmallow Man/Astronaut Suit: Some days it has SO MUCH MAGIC (in the form of three-hour naps) and some days it is worthless (in the form of 30 minute naps) but it is clear that no matter what, Leo loves that thing. He instantly calms down when he is in it (sometimes reluctantly, as he can’t flail around so easily in that thing) and gets all cozy. I’ve been using it for all naps and for the second/third part of nighttime sleep (we go with the HALO sleep sack for the first stretch, as he sleeps the deepest then and doesn’t startle awake.)
- Talking that talk: He isn’t talking nearly as much as he did last month, which made me sad but I also realize he is working on a few other skills now, but we still get some major coos and babbles! You can tell he is working on new sounds, like doooo and loooo and EEEEEEP! Yep, we have a squealer on our hands.
- Not-so-favorite thing: Loud, unexpected noises! It started a few days before we went to Seattle – whether it be the Vitamix, the dust buster, a loud “boo!” while playing or even walking by a garbage truck – his eyes get really big and his little bottle lip slowly comes down and in an instant, it’s cry town. It is the saddest and sweetest thing all at once, because he looks at me like a puppy for a second right before he freaks out. He rarely cries, so when he does this – especially with that little lip pout – it is kinda cute. Of course, I also love the “mommy instantly makes it all okay” thing, too.
Favorite things about Leo: I know, I said I’d stop including this section because it is redundant and I’m sure the only person who reads this far into this post is my mom (hi mom!) but because I am shameless: his little arm that waves all around when he’s breastfeeding – it goes from on my neck to grabbing my nose to my chin to rubbing his eyes then back up to my chin, just to make sure I’m still there; his continued lip smacking/sucking; how pumped up he gets when he sees us in the morning or after naps, and actually just how pumped up he gets all of the time – kicking his little legs and flailing his arms up and down while saying “ooo! ooo! ooooooo!” Also how hard he laughs at his daddy, how he babbles to himself in his crib before naps and in the middle of the night, his chubby cheeks when he makes his “mmmmmm” sounds, and just how freaking smart he is.
Sleepless in Seattle: We headed to Seattle for a week-long wedding celebration of my brother Dave and his bride-to-be Hilary. We had a super early morning flight (which, when we booked it, I thought “of course, we will be up at that time anyways!” and not the reality of “we will have just gotten him – and ourselves- back to sleep from the second night waking when the alarm goes off.” Leo was a little confused as to why we were a) making eye contact with him at 5 a.m. (rule #1 of getting through night wakings…no eye contact!) and b) why the hell we plopped him in the car in his pajamas. It was hilarious seeing him at the airport as we checked in, looking all around with his sleepy but oh-so-curious eyes. I put him in the wrap while we walked through security and waited to board, and while his little head kept popping up and looking around like a little turtle, eventually his sleep cycle took over and he crashed hard. He woke up again while we were taking off, and so I fed him (which I needed to do anyways so his ears wouldn’t pop) and then he passed out again for the ENTIRE flight! He was so snuggly on me, and while I should have taken advantage of the situation and also caught up on some sleep, as the time ticked on I made it my personal challenge to keep him asleep for the rest of the flight.
And alas, his blue eyes slowly opened as soon as we were descending. I fed him on the way down per the ear-popping thing, and then as soon as the plane touched down he looked up at me with big eyes and a bigger smile. As we walked through the airport to baggage claim (and to Mama Ro’s anxious arms) his head moved side to side then back up at me like, “Where the heck are we now, Ma?” I couldn’t stop laughing – this kid was born to travel!
And so right from the start, we had the BEST week in Seattle. From meeting all of his Minnuto cousins (seriously the most incredible thing to watch!) to taking him for cool, breezy walks around the city (so nice to get a break from Texas heat) and being able to celebrate all things Dave and Hilary with Leo in tow, the entire week was one big magical Minnuto experience.
That said, for all the fun and exciting days we had, some of the nights were not so thrilling. Probably a mix of jet lag, a new bed and life without the swaddle, but Leo wasn’t into sleeping. So much so that I broke down at 4 a.m. one night and ordered the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit on Amazon after my friend Jenny tried it with her also-rolling-but-maybe-not-ready-for-life-without-the-swaddle baby boy. It arrived midway through the trip, and while I’m not sure if it was the magic suit or just Leo adjusting to West Coast time, but he finally, FINALLY slept longer stretches at night. Just in time for us to come home and have to re-adjust his time tables again. :)
Sleepless in Austin: While we have definitely made progress, Leo still takes 45 minute naps during the day (with the rare 2-hour nap thrown in, just to give me hope!) and wakes to eat 2-3 times at night from his bedtime around 7:30-8 p.m. until around 7 or 8 a.m. He’s definitely had some rockstar nights, followed by some not-so-rockstar nights. I swear, just as they hit their stride, something like a growth spurt or developmental leap happens and everything goes right out the window. We’ve tried the whole non-feeding route, with Matt picking him up and rocking him, etc., but that boy does just really need to eat. Once I put him on the boob, he chows down for 10 minutes, passes back out and bam, we can all go back to sleep. (Except for that one time he decided to be UP. Like up up. At 2 a.m! That was fun. )
We’ve been working on a solid nap time and bedtime routine, and Leo has started putting himself to sleep (more on that below), which is huge.
- Self-soothing sleep: Since he was born, one of my very favorite things to do is hold Leo after he falls asleep. Like, for forever. And then eventually when I realize I should probably put him down and do one out of the 37204 things I need to do when he sleeps, I lay him in his crib. Since I know that I may be creating sleep associations (DAMN YOU PARENTING BOOKS FOR GETTING IN MY HEAD) and hindering his “self-soothing” skills, I finally started the whole putting him down “drowsy but awake” for some naps. Of course, the first time I did this I laid next to his crib, just incase he may need me again. And guess what? That little stinker coo’d himself to sleep. I got up from the nursery floor and stared at him for a good five minutes. I was so proud of him, but also a bit sad. My little baby doesn’t need me as much as I think! What’s next, running to the school bus without hugging me goodbye? WAHH. Since that big nap day, I’ve tried to put him down awake for at least one of his naps during the day, if I can (i.e. if he doesn’t pass out eating or isn’t super fussy). For the most part, we’ve been pretty successful! Again, he really doesn’t cry – he just kind of sleepily whimpers sometimes with his eyes closed until he finally passes out. Sometimes I feel like he wants to put himself to sleep, wiggling out of my arms and then instantly relaxing as soon as I lay him down. Anyways, it was and continues to be a very big deal for this mama – so take that, baby sleep advice people.
- Catnap King: Leo is all about that 45 minute nap, but we had more than a few occasions this month of a 1.5-3 hour nap! To which I’d love to say I accomplished so many things during, but really I just stared at the monitor every two minutes in disbelief that he was still sleeping. And then zooming in on it to make sure he was still breathing. And then asking Matt if we should go check on him. As Matt said one day, “all you do is talk about how this kid won’t nap, then when he does, you freak. CHILL OUT WOMAN.”
- Rolling like a boss: He is still working on rolling, and this month mastered the back to belly roll along with getting his little arm out from under his chest.
- Grabbing all the things: His toys, his blankets, his blocks, and his mama’s shirt, nose, chin or other boob when he is eating – he is one handsy fella. He LOVES to feel Matt’s chin stubble – he laughs so hard every time! I try and make him laugh that hard when he feels my face, but no dice…guess I should be thankful that I’m not growing a beard after pulling record days without a shower.
- TICKLE MONSTER: After a couple weeks of him giggling for a second when we would change his onesies (always right when you pulled his arms out), only to not do it again no matter how many times we tickled or face farted his little belly, we finally got a serious consistent giggle out of him! He laughs way harder for Matt than he does for me because of the whole beard thing, but its safe to say that I laugh the hardest.
Parenting Lessons learned:
- Just because something worked the day before doesn’t mean it will today. Or tomorrow. But maybe it will work again the day after that.
- The only thing that is consistent is inconsistency.
- Babies are tiny humans, not tiny robots, and you really can’t control how long they nap or IF they will nap. So just take it day by day by day, by day…
- Soak in every single moment, funny thing and/or development as these babies change so much so quickly and are onto the next thing before you hit record on your phone. (In my case, record on the 27th video you were going to take of that one thing they were doing.) Like how Leo would sing when I would sing last month. That cuteness lasted for all of a week! SING TO ME AGAIN LEONARDO!
- Seriously, a little boy is going to pee on you in the bathtub. Put a washcloth over their peeper.
- And the biggest one: Parenting books/websites = stress.
- I know everyone judges a “good baby” by how much they sleep, but let me tell you – for as much as this kid wakes up at night and for as short as his naps are doing the day, we have the BEST baby around. He is calm, content, smiley, giggly and developing at light speed. Which is why I’ve finally decided to stop overanalyzing every piece of advice I read in the baby/parenting books and baby sleep sites. I have learned so much from these books and websites, (many a time at 3 a.m.) and a lot of what we’ve implemented this month comes from this knowledge I’ve gathered. However, after having a bit of a breakdown about sleeping patterns, sleep associations, feeding schedules, nap schedules, etc., I realized that we will all figure this shiz out on our own time. The stress that comes from reading blanket statements about what your baby should and shouldn’t be doing and what you as a mother should and shouldn’t be doing in correlation is TOO MUCH. After being talked off the ledge by my fabulous mama friends, I let it all go. And it felt SO GOOD. I mean, there are still plenty of days and nights where the anxiety takes over and I’m crying in exhaustion as Leo is still rolling around his crib 35 minutes after I did all the right things, but hey. We are all human, including these tiny babies of ours.
That said…here we come month #5! (Teared up as I typed that. Maybe I should go to Starbucks…)