Matteo is 6 Months!

Friday, June 12, 2015

We've already reached the halfway mark!  It has really flown by, and it's been mostly lovely.  Matteo is such an even-keeled baby.  Even on hectic days, he remains pretty zen.

He does have his limits though- he likes to be in bed by 7pm, and if I stretch him too far past that, he gets quite fussy.  He also wants to eat every 2 to 3 hours, sometimes even more, no negotiations.  But his fussiness isn't usually wailing and screaming, it's more sad faces, silent cries, and whimpers.  I can handle silent cries and whimpers.

I think he's incredibly secure for a baby.  Not only has he been soothing himself to sleep since 5 days old, but I can already see good coping skills during the day, too.  He is able to distract himself when he's feeling tired or lonely.  He has incredible patience.  Although he's getting more active and wiggly, he is pretty content to sit back and watch the world go by.  It also means he's not super ambitious with the milestones, but we don't mind him taking his time.  Trust me, we are perfectly happy with him not being mobile.

Matteo is so in love with his big sister. Siena's silly antics make him belly laugh.  We're trying to teach Sisi that she doesn't have to be his mommy figure (she is constantly lecturing him- "Matteo, don't touch that.  Matteo, don't smile at me.  Don't even look at me.") But he seems to admire and look up to her anyways, like she can do no wrong in his eyes.  I am excited to see how their relationship develops.

Matteo at a Glance:

-Pretty consistent schedule right now.  Naps at around 9:30 and 1:30, for about 1.5 hours each, then in bed around 7-7.30, up for the day around 7am.
-Still waking up to eat once or twice a night, but increasingly able to go back to sleep without my intervention.  I try to wait at least 10 minutes before I go in, and by that time he's often back to sleep. He gave me a nice 11 hour stretch last night, but that is a rarity and a gift.
- Starting solids today!!! I was trying to find some good solid food advice, so I googled "paleo baby first foods" and stumbled upon an old article I'd written when Sisi was a baby.  That's when I realized "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and maybe we should just do exactly what we did with Sisi, since she's a very adventurous eater.  So we'll start him on avocados, liver, egg yolks, fish and assorted veggies like we did with Sisi and hope for another amazing eater!
-The only solids he's had so far are tiny bites of raw butter and coconut oil.  He likes it.
- Finally takes the bottle (kinda!)  Just a few ounces, but it's allowed us to get away from some date nights.
- Starting to embrace independent play.  This is a skill that I highly value in my kiddos for their own good and my sanity.  I don't think it comes as easily for him as it did for Sisi since he's definitely a people person, so we're being strategic about it.  We started leaving him in his crib with some very simple toys for a few minutes here and there, and each day we increase the time. I'm always sure to casually say, "I'll be back" and "I'm back" so he knows I always come back and he doesn't have to be watching for me.  He's now doing up to 40 mins of play in the crib, although some days he refuses.

- Our dear Mother's Helper Miss Katie has graduated from high school and can't work for us anymore :(  I'm forced to go on more outings with both the kids and it's definitely becoming second nature, but we keep it simple.  We go to Dana Point Baby Beach once a week, the local library every 2 weeks, walk to the grocery store and Petco, the mall, etc.  But our favorite thing to do is lounge around and sunbathe in the yard.  Teo has a pretty good base tan going on.
-Eyes are still brownish/grayish/hazel (aka brown). Inherited daddy's luscious lashes.
-A few weeks ago, he woke up with a light brown birth mark above his right eye.  Weird, right?
-I cannot resist his fussy caterpillar hair and his intense Dave Matthews brows.
-Someone said that he has "smiling eyes", and I agree!  He is not a super smiley baby (in fact, he usually looks quite serious) but his eyes are very twinkly and full of joy.
-Size 6 mo clothes, not sure about height and weight but we have a well-check appt next week.  I am guessing he's still exactly average.
- Nicknames- Teo, Taters, Saj (his middle name is Saja)
-Nighttime routine-  nurse, read 2 books, put on his zipadee zip, close blinds, turn on waterfall sounds, sing the "Matteo song" and gently place in the crib.

Matteo Song by Joe Brancaleone

Matteo, Potato bug butt.
Matteo, Sack of potatoes in a swaddle.  
Matteo, potato bug butt. 
Matteo, lots of farts after his bottle. 

He's a lot of fun, 
He's a little baby. 
He's a lot of fun,
He's a little baby.


Do This Everyday

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Real talk here... I'm exceedingly happy in my role as a mom, but in recent days I've been having these brief (thankfully passing) moments of dread that interrupt my contentment.  Maybe not even dread, but a heaviness. Like a super duper mild version of the postpartum depression I suffered with Sisi. It's hard to put my finger on what or why.  I think it has to do with the monotony of everyday life as a mom of two.  My kids do so well with schedules and routines.  Every day follows a somewhat predictable rhythm where I'm staying one step ahead of their hunger, fatigue, boredom and overstimulation.  With Matteo, this routine is totally cyclical and happens 3 or 4 times a day- Wake up, nurse, diaper, play, nap.  Wake up, nurse, diaper, play, nap.  Over and over and over. Then I try to weave in Sisi's schedule as seamlessly as possible, and I find I'm always multitasking (which isn't really a strength of mine.)

babywearing at dinner is the norm.  that means lots of food gets dropped on matteo's fuzzy little head.
Don't get me wrong, this rhythm is good and keeps us all sane.  I'd rather have repetitive days than crazy chaotic days.  But I find that I myself don't have a routine for my own needs.  My meals, my showers,my playtime, my naps are never regular and sometimes just don't happen. I've managed so far to be very zen about this- to breathe and tell myself that it's ok for my own life to be a little jumbled up right now if it means giving my kids a calm and balanced life.  It's a worthwhile sacrifice. 

But those moments of dread still creep up a few times a day, and I don't like them.   I've decided to listen to that tight-chested feeling.  I think it's telling me I need to make time for my own little routines.  Comfort rituals.  If I can make the time to do these few things every day, I will feel a little more cared for.

Morning rituals:

1.  Brush teeth, use rose water toner (my fave! this stuff makes my face come alive, seriously.  also, my pores are so small now) first thing in the morning.  BEFORE I let the kids out of their rooms to start their morning rituals.  As an HSP, the feeling of fuzzy teeth and an unwashed face REALLY bothers me.  If I can take care of that first thing before I tend to my kids, I will feel one step ahead of the day.

2.  Get dressed and do makeup.  I've been pretty good about getting dressed thanks to my minimal wardrobe.  I love everything in my closet and it's all comfortable, so it's not hard to pick something out for the day.  My full makeup routine only takes 5 minutes because I prefer a really natural look, and I have a bare bones version (lip stain, powder, blush and curl lashes) that is good enough for days when I don't even have 5 mins to spare.

3.  Make the bed (even if I know Sisi will mess it up later.)

4.  Stroll in the garden in the morning.  Sunshine is important for health and wellness, but morning sunshine between the hours of 8-11 is particularly beneficial.  I don't know why, ask my husband.  Anyway, morning sun just feels amazing on my skin and I love checking out the garden to see what flowers are blooming and which vegetables have popped up overnight.

Evening rituals:

Ok, the moment I've been waiting for.  The kids are both tucked in, at least for a little while.  The house is quiet, lights are dimmed.  How should I spend this glorious hour or two before I fall into bed unconscious?  The answer is not online shopping on amazon (so very tempting!)

5.  Do a bit of yoga.  Even if it's just a couple rounds of sun salutations.  I sometimes feel like a hunchback with all the baby cradling, nursing, and bending down talking to tiny people I do each day.  Yoga is the remedy.

6.  Cup of tea.  My favorite way to get hydrated before bed for those middle of the night feedings :) Right now I'm digging Tazo Spicy Organic Ginger.

7. Acknowledge the dogs' existence.  I do feel bad that the dogs are my last priority right now.  I don't have much energy left for them.  But the least I can do is cuddle them and pet them for five minutes (and then immediately wash my hands because I've become very allergic to them since having kids).

8.  Read.  Preferably fiction.  Feels so indulgent.  My attention span for reading has grown so much since I stopped watching TV/movies.  I go through a book a week at least.

9. Most importantly, kiss the hubby goodnight.  Sometimes I'm so tired that I can't even make the effort to walk up to my husband and kiss him goodnight.  That is soooo very sad.  No more of that!

Curious- what are your must-do rituals every day?  I love to hear about how women incorporate the simple pleasures of life into their hectic days.  We are definitely worth it.  


5 Month Little Man

Monday, May 18, 2015

Matteo is five months!   He is still a delight- generally easy-going, friendly and full of smiles, chuckles and coos.  He loves to be cuddled and tickled.  He is very content to be held by the ankles upside-down for minutes at a time. He mouth-breathes with excitement at the dogs, gazes admiringly at his sister, and belly laughs when I kiss his neck.  He isn't too phased by big crowds or loud noises (we were at my brother's college graduation and he had to put up with cheering and airhorns) which leads me to believe he is an extravert. The only extravert in our family, that's for sure.

Matteo at a Glance:

  • suddenly starving!  waking up once, twice, or on an especially bad night three times to eat! also suddenly wants to eat every 2 hours during the day.  ready for solids maybe?  growth spurt?  
  • unswaddled!! wears zipadee zip and peke moe so he still feels cozy and secure. 
  • once Wonder Week 19 passed, he went right back to putting himself to sleep happily and napping longer stretches, thank goodness.   i will honestly take that over sleeping through the night!  a happy napper is my sanity! 
  • rolled over a few times, but isn't obsessive about it like Sisi was.  
  • definitely more interested in people and faces than in toys. 
  • likes to take tiny sips of water from my cup. 
  • still not a fan of the bottle!  we will try a sippy cup with breastmilk soon.
  • no teeth yet
  • 50th percentile for weight and height.  still wearing 3-6 month digs. 


Matteo is 4 Months!

Monday, April 20, 2015

He keeps giving me Dave Matthews expressions.
Our little charmer is four months today.  He is still a mellow, go-with-the-flow baby, although I find 4 month olds to be quite intense. He's no longer a passive observer; he needs to grab and stuff everything into his mouth.  He wants to experience it all firsthand. There is so much he wants to do- the will and the energy is there, but the coordination is not. Some days, he needs extra cuddles and reassurance.  Some days his naps and nights are crap, but we're getting through this phase just fine.  I found this old post about Sisi and "Wonder Week 19" and just had to laugh at myself a little.  I remember taking Sisi's fussy periods so seriously (so personally, too!), and I would slip back into depression with each Wonder Week. It's only funny now, it wasn't then. I thank God almost every day that I am feeling so sane and balanced this time around. And HAPPY.  I enjoy both my kiddos so much I get butterflies when I look at them.  I expected to be a total wreck.  How's that for positivity?  ha.

The (often contradictory) comments I receive most about him are:
  • He looks like an adult! 
  • He's a mini Joe.  
  • He doesn't look like either of you.  
  • He looks so Italian/masculine/not Asian.  
  • What a mellow/content/happy baby!  
  • He is so serious. 
  • He has expressive eyebrows.  
  • He doesn't look like Sisi.  
  • He looks just like Sisi, but a boy version.  

Matteo at a glance:
  • starting to understand object permanence.  If I move a toy out of sight, he will look around for it. 
  • when it comes to learning new skills, he seems pretty aggressive. He reaches, grabs, punches, slaps. Two days ago, he was just starting to think about rolling over.  The next day, he was charging it and got 95% there! Is this a boy thing? 
  • still happily swaddled in the miracle blanket for night sleep. He was consistently busting out,  then I found boingo diaper clips to keep the flap closed, and they work perfectly.
  • just for naps, we've eased him into the peke moe sleep sack. He self-soothes much easier if he is allowed to suck on his hands, but I think he transitions sleep cycles better when swaddled.  Any non-parents out there are probably annoyed at all this baby sleep jargon.
  • sleeps about 11-11.5 hours straight, although inconsistently.  He'll do a great week of long nights, and then a crazy week with wakeups.  Sisi was the same way- slept through the night very early on, but off-and-on until she was about 1 year.   
  • sometimes gets himself to sleep by clicking his tongue or sucking on his bottom lip.
  • size 2 diapers, size 3-6 month clothes, no idea how much he weighs but he's a healthy little chunker. Definitely had a growth spurt last week.  
  • sometimes 3 naps, sometimes 4.  We're in that weird transtion period.  
  • still won't take the bottle!  Hope this changes soon so I can resume my Saturday morning surfing ritual.  
  • eczema is pretty much a non-issue now that I can control it with Formula One cream. 
  • first beach outing on Easter.  Dog beach is not a good place for a baby, btw.  He almost got trampled and peed on many times.   
  • seems to love movement.  He laughs with glee when I do airplane with him, and seems oddly content when Joe holds him upside down by the ankles.  Sisi didn't (and still doesn't) like a lot of movement or horseplay.  
  • finally has a middle name!  "Saja", which is a Korean word.  Does anyone know what it means? Hint: it coordinates with our last name.  
content to hang out in the grass for long stretches of time.

better post a butt picture before it's no longer ok!


Matteo is 3 Months!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Matteo turned 3 months last week!  I enjoy him so much.  He continues to fit like a glove into our family and he seems very happy to be here.  I know I shouldn't put labels on him, especially this early, but I predict he will be an extravert. He is a people person, more interested in faces and voices than in objects or animals (opposite of Sisi).  If you want to catch one of his smirky smiles, just sing him a ditty; he loves to hear songs, and he will try to sing back.  He is not really a crier, but he doth protest a lot. Compared to Sisi (and we can't help but compare kids, huh? even though we shouldn't) he is quite vocal. In the last few days he started doing this adorable high pitched dolphin squeals when he's exasperated. It's so hard not to laugh at him when he does this.  It's neat that he's discovering other ways to express himself besides crying.



Itchy cradle cap and eczema.  Ugh. He's always grabbing chunks and scales off his scalp.

 I think he's soooo handsome!  A lot of people tell me he looks very masculine and adult-like.

He still sleeps in his Moses basket, but he's almost too big for it!  Luckily, putting the Moses basket in his crib has gotten him used to the crib, so it shouldn't be too rough of a transition. 

Matteo at a glance:
  • We took our first babywearing ballet class last week!  He slept the entire time in the ergo carrier while I did my rond de jambes and plies.  I am so grateful for creative ways to work out with baby.  I am also taking him to my mommy yoga in the park and he just lays in the grass watching me do my sun salutations. 
  • Size 3-6 month clothes, I am not sure how much he weighs.  Probably like 13.5 pounds or so? 
  • Still sleeping through the night most nights, but it's been a little rocky the past few weeks (eczema itchies? wonder week? who knows! I don't overthink it too much.)  
  • Beginning to self-soothe by chanting, just like Sisi did around this age.  She would do this "hmmmmmm" meditation to get herself to sleep, and Matteo does more of a melodic "haaaaa haaaa haaaa haaa" sound like he's doing vocal exercises or something.  It's pretty fascinating. To all those who don't believe young infants can self-soothe, I beg to differ.  When given the chance, they find creative ways to get themselves to sleep.
  • Starting to grab things.  
  • Turns the pages of Joe's books on biophotons.  
  • Drooling lots.  Loves to suck my knuckles.  Pre-teething?  Is that a thing?  
  • Was taking the bottle, now he's not.  We've tried like 5 different bottles.  It's a good thing I'm not working outside the home or this would be a very stressful situation!  Google "3 month bottle strike"- apparently it's a thing.  
  • His eczema is getting slightly worse each day, which is discouraging to me.  I am already on a fairly strict paleo diet so I avoid the major allergens like gluten and dairy already. But I am also trying to cut out eggs (and maybe cut down on nuts, which is a super bummer for me) just in case it's diet-related.  We use all-natural cleaning and bath products, and are now using water wipes instead of our beloved costco wipes because we are wondering if he has chemical sensitivies.  I also wonder if our household mold issues during pregnancy have anything to do with it?  Eczema is an autoimmune reaction, and the fact that my bedroom was a petri dish of toxic mold could be to blame.  Thankfully, his eczema doesn't seem to bother him as much as it bothers me.  The so-called "miracle cream" that everyone raves about is coming in the mail tomorrow, so we will see if that makes a difference! I hope so, because his skin issues are starting to drive me bonkers.  I can now empathize with other eczema mommies out there!
  • ECZEMA UPDATE- the miracle cream works.  Just started using it yesterday and the redness and inflammation is gone, there is just some rough skin left but that is quickly disappearing.  I'm totally amazed!!!
Oh Matteo, you bring me so much joy!  They say mommies and sons have a special bond, and I think it's so true.  I can tell you adore me.  You light up when I talk to you.  It feels so good to be so needed and appreciated.  Trust me, the feeling is mutual x a million!!!