Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Zach wanted to send a special birthday present to his Grandpa Kao whose birthday it is today. (Since he is only 4 1/2 months old, he asked me to help him.) Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
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Saturday, April 22, 2006

You're never fully dressed...

... without a smile!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reach out and grab someone

Lately, I have been amazed at how fast Zach is learning and changing. Just a week ago, he was reaching for stuff but still consistently missing the object of his interest, but tonight I held out his rattle to him and he grabbed it right away and started shaking it. What a kid! He's also started figuring out how to hold things with both hands in order to better maneuver them towards his mouth--the eventual goal of everything he touches these days.

"I wonder what that frog tastes like..."

"Hm... a lot like chicken..."

"... also like chicken ..."

" ... a bit like chicken..."

"... like purple chicken..."

Speaking of how much Zach is changing, we got to spend some time with a 5-week old baby yesterday while visiting with the Holwerf family in the Netherlands (Davy Holwerf is a pastor in Siddiburen who also comes to the library regularly for his dissertation research). I don't know what surprised me more: how tiny a 5-week-old baby is or the fact that I have already forgotten how tiny a 5-week old baby is! I know that Zach was definitely that tiny at one point not that long ago, but I already can barely remember it.

It's also fun to watch Zach's personality emerging little by little. He definitely does not seem to be a natural multi-tasker. He gets really fixated on learning how to do one thing and once he feels like he's got it down, he won't do it again for weeks and weeks. A couple weeks ago it was blowing spit bubbles. All day long, he'd make this motorboat sound with his mouth and make bubbles. Then it was rolling from his back to his tummy. Now it's trying to get things into his mouth (although I think this one might last for a while).

In other news, Zach's second tooth has broken through! Personally, I'm ready for a little break from this teething thing, but I guess I don't really get a vote. We think that Zach's recent sleeping problems are related to the teething, but it's hard to say. In any case, we decided this past weekend that it was finally time to let him "cry it out" in the hopes that he might learn how to put himself back to sleep. I was really hoping to avoid this particular "sleep training" method, especially since we all sleep in the same bedroom, but it was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. He did cry for an hour on Saturday night at his normal 2:30am wake-up call, but it never got really hysterical and the next night, he put himself back to sleep after just a couple minutes of crying! He's also been much better at going down for naps. Yay! He is still waking up at 4:30am, though, and I'm not really sure if he actually does need to eat at that time or what. For now, I'm just happy to be getting up only once a night again instead of 3 or 4 times. :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Laughing it up

We caught this video of Zach laughing a couple of nights ago and just had to share it. It may take a while to download depending on your connection, but if you want to watch something pretty darned cute, it's worth it!

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Four Months!

Looking back on the last four months, I can definitely say that taking care of a four-month old is a LOT easier than taking care of a one-month old. Things that I appreciate so much more than I ever thought possible:

  • Zach's smiles. I love every single one of them, whether they're directed towards me, someone else, or no one in particular!
  • The fact that he is so much easier to console now when he gets upset. I used to feel so helpless when he would just cry and cry and I couldn't figure out how to help him. Thankfully, that happens a lot less frequently now.
  • How much easier it is to actually SEE how much he's learning from day to day. I know that he was learning a ton in the first few weeks, too, but it wasn't as obvious to me as now. Then he was figuring out stuff like "objects that move are different from objects that stay still"; now, he's learning how to grab things and stick them in his mouth.

In other news, Zach had his first experience in a swimming pool yesterday! Saturday mornings are designated baby swimming times in the local indoor kiddie pool and they make the water extra warm for the babies. All things considered, he did really well and stayed in the water with his daddy holding him tight for about 20 minutes before deciding he'd had a enough. We're looking forward to going again next Saturday.

We've also discovered this week that Zach is starting to respond to tickling! (This makes it a lot easier to get pictures of him smiling.) When I start tickling his tummy, he breaks out in a big smile and does this sort of "heh, heh" guffaw - it's so cute!

A not so good piece of news, however, is that now that Zach is a formula-only baby, he is unfortunately having to deal with the C-word. (Hint: starts with a C and ends with -onstipation.) The poor thing. Then, when I tried to give him some prune juice on Friday morning, well, let's just say that it did not go over well. Nor did the apple juice I tried after that. I'll keep trying over the next couple of days, though, and hopefully he'll get more used to it. Anybody out there have any other suggestions?

By far our most exciting news of all, though, is that Zach slept through the entire night, meaning from 11:00pm-7:30am, for the very first time a couple nights ago. I was so shocked, especially because the couple nights before that he'd been waking up every hour or so starting at 3am. He did wake up several times again last night, but I'm still hopeful that this could be the start of something very, very good. :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mission Accomplished!

Zach successfully made it through his first round of immunizations, and with flying colors, if I do say so myself. He cried when he first got pricked, but then calmed down after only about 15 seconds or so! The hardest crying actually came about 10 minutes before the shot because it was time for his first nap and he wasn't getting it. The doctor said that sometimes when babies are crying hard already, they don't feel the shot as much. Maybe that's what happened with him, who knows? He also got all his measurements done again, even though he had just had them done a week ago at the last dr. appointment. I didn't expect too much of a change in one week, but I guess I underestimated my son! In one week, he gained almost a whole pound, which now puts him at 19.5 lbs! His length is still 67 cm (26.5 in) and his head circumference 43 cm. The doctor didn't tell us the percentages but I looked them up on the internet and that puts him at 97%, 82%, and 64%, respectively. In other words: really fat, pretty tall, and a normal-sized head. Hey, as long as he's healthy and happy, I'll take it!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Early evidence of genius?

As of Sunday morning, Zach has two new accomplishments to report. First, he has officially become a two-way roller! Over the past couple of days he has been virtually addicted to trying to roll from his back to his tummy. Every time we put him on his back he would start kicking up his legs and craning his head to the left as... far... as... it... could... possibly... go. He was even trying to turn over while sitting in his car seat! (I think he's starting to get that it doesn't really work that way.) By the end of the day on Saturday, you could tell he was pretty tired and didn't really want to be doing it anymore but he just couldn't stop himself! The expression on his little face said it all: "MUST --- TURN --- OVER!" Well, Sunday morning he finally did it! And it wasn't just an almost roll, according to his dad who was the one who actually witnessed it; he started flat on his back and ended up on his tummy with head lifted high and arms propped up under him and everything. What agility! What determination! What talent!

Second thing to report: Zach has officially left the ranks of the toothless and is now sporting a beautiful, if tiny, pearly white on his lower gum. (The waterfall of drool in the picture above testifies to the fact that teething season has officially begun here in the Holmlund household.) The tooth had been visible just under the gum for several days, so I wasn't really positive that it had actually broken through until I tried the test that Jeannine told me about: tapping the back of a spoon against the gum to see if I could hear a clink. And clink it did! It's a sharp little thing, to be sure, but we think it's the cutest little tooth in the world. (If Zach ever lets me open his mouth long enough to take a picture of it, I'll be sure to post it!) In addition to just wanting to see the tooth, I was also really excited for it to come through thinking that might mean a reprieve in the crankiness of the past couple weeks. Silly first-time mom! He's still gnawing his knuckles as much as ever and drooling like his life depends on it. 1 down, 19 more to go. Sigh.

On Tuesday, we go for Zach's first round of shots and I am NOT looking forward to it. (Happily, Zach has no idea what's coming so only one of us has to be nervous.) Then on Wednesday, we're celebrating Auntie Emilie's birthday! Since her birthday will, of course, be celebrated around the world, we agreed to head up the festivities here in Germany. Expect lots of sausage, some Black Forest Cake and an international phone call or two. :)