George Turns Seven

Lucky seven.

I was processing George growing another year older, and I think with every age, there is a different kind of weight to it.

But with seven, it’s like all that was of being little is gone. We have truly entered the big kid years.

George had so many pivotal moments this last year, most notably starting school and becoming a big brother again.

It was so fun, and emotional, to see George becoming a person away from our family unit. He now has a whole life that we are on the periphery of. He has relationships and experiences that we are not instigating, which is hard to let go of, but magical at the same time.

Seeing George this last year has highlighted his strengths, but also reminded me that I have no idea what I am doing as a parent still.

He is a full throttle kind of dude. When he zones in on something, he is all in. He has unwavering commitment to people and ideas. When George is determined to do something, we best be getting out of his way. It has been a challenge to parent him at times to understand where is the line to give him the freedom to be his own boss, but also letting him know when there are limitations. We don’t need to supervise him as much, but he still does need guidance because he is seven. There is definitely a balance that we are working through to expose him to new ideas and tap into his natural curiosity. I want him to have that kind of passion in his life. I want him be able to dedicate himself fully to projects and relationships, but I also want him to do it strategically and in a healthy way.

We have entered a new phase where he questions logic on everything, and the little kid magic is starting to disappear. It was quite the difference watching him react to Disney versus his sister. He wanted to break down the logistics of how rides work, who was behind the costume, and let everyone know that it wasn’t real. We are entering into more intense conversations of real world things especially as he engages with people more outside of our family. It is exciting to see him develop his world-view but also a part of me is sad the days of Christmas Tree Truck guy is gone.

He still loves to play though, his stories and worlds have just evolved. I love watching him create these different scenes and act out his characters. He is so good with details and setting up entire landscapes. If you were to come into our house, his room is constantly a construction zone due to Lego City government and trying to navigate the dinosaurs that have escaped Camp Cretaceous. Our living room is actually a war zone with hundreds of Army men, or squadrons in his terms, that are ready to get on the helicopters he strategically has in safe zones. The sun room is the new wild west with an elaborate train system getting people to and fro. On the driveway, he has his “mud creek” construction team who is always changing the layouts of piping and blocks to help with the rain fall. My new favorite is playing Harry Potter with him where we basically play an elaborate hide and seek game around the yard screaming spells at each other.

George is incredibly smart. He takes in information like a sponge. He loves to give you random facts about things, and he always has something to say about every subject. ALWAYS something to say and a story to tell.

On the flip side though, he is one of those people that if he does not care about the topic, he is not going to put his energy into it. For example, he says he hates reading and writing. However, he loves to make signs for the various worlds he has created with toys, and cataloging his finds in his notebook. But, because he has chosen the topic, he perfects the writing. We have had to navigate some pieces here since at school you don’t always get to choose the topic or activity or timing. So we are constantly trying to be creative on how to refocus his energy and tailor it to him, but also work within other’s expectations.

If he does focus and put his energy towards something, watch out. I truly believe that he is the type of person who is going to invent some thing some day or cure cancer because he doesn’t think in conventional methods. His mind is always going trying to see beyond the simple and dissect things. That’s why it is so hard with academics. I want him to do well and succeed, but at the same time his intelligence cannot be harnessed in the same way that I defined academic success. It’s definitely a humble reminder especially since my job is student success on the college level.

I am in awe of his confidence and passion. While it is sad to leave the littleness behind, I am excited to see what the new year brings and see where his interests continue to take shape.

If you will excuse me, this newly seven year old wants to make a tornado in our kitchen.

Walter-8 Months

Walter-8 Months

Weight:  He is 17 lbs.

Health: No big health concerns, but this month he has been a little fussier than my even keel baby normally is. I think there are a couple more teeth coming in.

Diet: I have made it another full month of exclusively breastfeeding him! My supply is going down when I am pumping, so I am not sure if it also going down when I am at home. The last couple weeks have been extremely difficult for us in this arena. He is only wanting to feed for 5-10 minutes for each feeding, and a lot of that he spends crying or biting me. I have had to add additional feedings throughout the day, and he is often waking up in the middle of the night. I just am not sure what is happening as I didn’t have this occur with either other kid. They were both on formula at this point. I am worried that he isn’t getting enough. But he is growing so I guess there is that. He just seems easily distracted or impatient with me. Walt feeds 5-7 times a day, and on average it adds up to 2 hours of nursing. He was going around 4 hours between feedings during the day, and then this week is about every 2-3 hours. My app says that we have had 159 feedings over this last month, and spent 2 days nursing him. I have also pumped 17 times over the month. We continued with solids this month, but we haven’t been pushing it too much since he still doesn’t seem too interested. He does really like strawberries, peaches, and green beans. We added sweet potato fries, yogurt, and applesauce this month.

Clothes: He is still in size 3-6 month in clothes and size 3 in diapers.

Sleeping:  He is still fairly good about going to sleep when we put him down in the crib. We normally get him down around 8:30pm. As I mentioned, he is waking up in the middle of the night lately. Most of the time I will do a quick nursing session, and he will go back to sleep. During the week, I get him up at 5:15am to do the first feeding, and then he goes back to sleep. On the weekends, we sleep in until about 7am. He typically takes two naps during the day, but they aren’t usually very long. He is still sleeping in the zipadeezip, and this kid cruises around in his sleep. He started consistently rolling to sleep on his stomach. He often rolls to the edge of the crib and gets him self stuck between the bars. It is terrifying.

Likes:  Daphne and Tom are his favorite people, and they can always get smiles out of him. He only cuddles with my mom. He loves blankets, and he is always trying to bunch them in his fists. He is putting everything in his mouth, so it has been helpful to have the pacy around. He really loves my watch and putting it in the relax mode.

Dislikes:  He really hates the prep time it takes me to get him set up for feedings. He screams at me for the few minutes it takes me to get unwrapped or switch sides. When he is having a non-chill moment, he does not like for you to be sitting. We should not relax to calm down!

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wally Olly, Waller, Wallace, Butters, Sweet Bean, Stinkerdoodle, Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter. I think the most common are Wally, Wally Bear and Waltie. Apparently we really like nicknames.

Milestones: I think we are so close to crawling. He did a full plank today. He props his arms up, but hasn’t quite figured out how to get his legs up just yet. He does scoot himself backwards everywhere. He has started grabbing at books and becoming more invested as we read to him. He did have a lot of firsts this past month with our vacation. He did so great on the planes. Most of the time I would nurse him, and he would just pass out. He was not a fan of the beach though. With all of our adventures though, he was so good just chilling in the stroller as we carted him around the Orlando area for a week.

Quirks: He only rolls from his back to his stomach. I could not even tell you the last time I saw him go from stomach to back. Wally is unaffected by fireworks. This face is also a constant where he looks like he is sucking in his bottom lip.

We parents are:  doing alright. It was a weird month with our 4th of July party and vacation. I feel like we just got back to our routine this past week. I will say that it was our best 4th ever, and Tom really out did himself with our firework display. The vacation was a blast, and I am so glad we were able to create some memories like that for the kiddos. Work has picked up with back to school prep activities for me so I feel like my brain is constantly on the go. I also have been in the office quite a bit but never on the same days each week, so I never really know what day it is.

Big kids are:  doing pretty good. They loved our Florida trip, and they still talk about it daily. George had summer school this month, which was fun to see him find a groove again with his new class. He also did a state soccer tournament this month, which was an adventure. We concluded our first t-ball season, and quite possibly our last. It is very clear that he is not going to be a baseball star, but he sure did have fun building mounds in the gravel dust! Daphne is Wally’s biggest fan, and she is the Wally whisperer if he is having a bad moment. They are both obsessed with each other. It will be fun to see them continue to bond. It is hard to believe that this is her last month before school starts for her. We have been watching the Olympics, and that has been fun watching gymnastics with her and seeing her recognize things from her class.

In case you are curious, here is George at eight months and Daphne at eight months.

I spend a lot of my time just staring at him. He is just the most precious little guy!

Walter-7 Months

Walter-7 Months

Weight:  He is 18 lbs. He is definitely my biggest baby!

Health: He is having a little rough patch with these bottom two teeth coming up. No known ear infections, but he just seems restless and uncomfortable more.

Diet: This is the longest I have made it on the breastfeeding journey without using formula, so I am really proud of that. I have been on campus a lot more this month, so I have dipped into our freezer stash a lot since I am only making 10 oz on the days when I pump and he eats 15 oz. I have been contemplating pumping extra on the weekends to extend the time that we are exclusively using breastmilk, but then I saw my thoughts from last month about my promise to myself that I am not going to pump extra this time around. Remembering how it affected me with George and Daphne is a good reminder that it is not needed, and I don’t need that guilt put on myself. So my resolve is to only pump when I am at work on campus, and we’ll continue to just see how long that takes us! Walt feeds 5 times a day, and on average it adds up to 2 hours of nursing. He is going around 4 hours between feedings during the day. My app says that we have had 135 feedings over this last month, and spent 3 days nursing him. I have also pumped 33 times over the month, which is almost 3 times as much as last month. Can I say how much I hate pumping? I am really hoping that I will still be able to do a hybrid work situation come the fall because I honestly think it has done wonders for this journey and my mental health. So we’ll see what transpires as I have a new boss and the new school year begins. We did start with solids this month, and he just doesn’t seem interested. He tolerates the experience for a few minutes then just wants to be done. The only thing he seems excited about is strawberries. We have tried avocados, black beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, eggs, broccoli, and zucchini.

Clothes: He is size 3-6 month in clothes and size 3 in diapers. He is going to be swimming in his 4th of July stuff since it is all 6 or 9 month things…He seems like he is so big now though!

Sleeping:  Sleep has been a little trickier this month, and I think it has to do with his teeth. For the most part anytime we lay him down, he will eventually go to sleep. He goes to bed around 8pm. His pediatrician did recommend that we cut out the last feeding and see if he would seep through the night. i was really hesitant to do that, but she said the fact that I had to wake him up for that feeding meant that he may not need it and I may be interrupting good sleep instead. So we did cut that down, and for the most part he does sleep from 8pm until we get him up the next day. During the week, I get him up at 5:15am. On the weekends, we sleep in until about 8 am. The last week he has been waking up in the middle of the night some, but I think it is more of a comfort feed with his teeth more than him actually being hungry. He typically takes two naps during the day, but they aren’t usually very long. He is almost exclusively sleeping in his crib in his room now. I would say that 9/10 times, we are able to put him down awake, and he falls asleep within 5 minutes. He is still sleeping in the zipadeezip, and this kid cruises around in his sleep. He is all over that crib!

Likes:  Daphne and Tom are his favorite people. He still loves to be rubbed like a dog on his belly and under his chin. He chews on basically everything. He loves to be bounced up in the air or be lifted like an airplane. He started using a pacy this month. I think it has been helpful with the teething.

Dislikes:  He really hates the prep time it takes me to get him set up for feedings. He screams at me for the few minutes it takes me to get unwrapped or switch sides. Nursing on a plane next week should be a good time. He is not a fan of eating real food, which has been so different than the first two monster eaters. They would eat everything until they turned two, so maybe this means he won’t become a picky eater later on?

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wally Olly, Butters, Sweet Bean, Stinkerdoodle, Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter. Tom has really gravitated to calling him Wallace with Daphne. I think the most common are Wally, Wally Bear and Waltie.

Milestones: He is sitting on his own. He went swimming for the first time. He just lays back in the floatie and lives his best life with us pushing him around.

Quirks:  He will let anyone hold him. He is 100% chill. This month has been a little tricky to nurse him because he thinks it is swimming practice and acts like he is trying to win a gold medal in the freestyle.

We parents are:  surviving. This was a hard month with losing Grace. Tom got to go to a really cool training for firearms instruction this month. He was living out his dream for sure, and it was such a full circle moment thinking back on this time last year. We celebrated our ten year anniversary without much hooplah because of kids and training, but it is still an amazing thing for us to have made it this far. There used to be down times at my job, but summer has proven to be busy as ever. Although we did get approval to hire another position in my office, so hopefully that has some trickle down affects with taking things off our plates because we have been operating as a four-person office even though it has been a year and a half with only three of us.

Big kids are:  living their summer lives. They both sleep in super late and stay in jammies pretty much all the time. George did go to VBS with his grandma for a week this month, and he seemed to have a really good time with that. We also started Tball, which is an experience for us all. Daphne is really becoming quite the entertainer. She loves to sing and dance, especially when Wally is her audience. She has to give him a kiss and hug a thousand times a day.

In case you are curious, here is George at seven months and Daphne at seven months.

I cannot express how much joy he brings into our lives. Wally is just the bestest baby guy!

Walter-6 Months

Walter-6 Months

Holy moly a half of a year with the chillest baby on the block!

Weight:  Welp…here I am again typing this out after Wally is asleep for the night. And I forgot to weigh him again. Did I contemplate waking him up so I could have his weight? Yes I did, but then I had better judgement.

Health: No health concerns this month. However, his two bottom teeth are starting to pop up. So while, there aren’t fevers or known ear infections yet, he has been a little crankier and a lot more slobbery this month.

Diet: Still going strong with breastfeeding! This last week, I did have to start getting into our freezer stash because pumping as usual starts to wane at about 4-5 months for me. I am shocked that I have made it this long without dipping into that extra supply to get through our days. I still don’t think we will need to supplement formula for awhile, but as I go back to campus more days a week in the upcoming months, I know that freezer stash is going to go down more quickly. I have however made a promise to myself that I am not going to pump extra this time around. It nearly killed my sanity with George, and I was always exhausted with Daphne because I was always trying to add more pumps to an already long day. I know it is not needed, and I don’t need that guilt put on myself. So my resolve is to only pump when I am at work on campus, and we’ll just see how long that takes us! Walt feeds 5 to 6 times a day, and on average it adds up to 2.5 hours of nursing. He is going around 4 hours between feedings during the day. My app says that we have had 168 feedings over this last month, and spent 3 days feeding him. I have also pumped 12 times over the month. We did start with solids just this weekend. We are choosing the baby led weaning way which means it can be a slow start as they get use to all the stimulation of it. We have only tried avocados, and he was really indifferent so far. Next up is sweet potatoes and black beans!

Clothes: He is in 3 month clothes and size 2 diaper. Although it is on my to-do list to change him up to 3-6 month clothes this week.

Sleeping:  We really lucked out with this kid and sleep. For the most part anytime we lay him down, he will eventually go to sleep. He goes to bed around 8pm. Then I wake him up around 10:30 pm for a feeding, and then he goes right back down. During the week, I get him up at 5:15am. On the weekends, we sleep in until 6:30-7:30 am. I am not changing the overnight piece still for awhile. I haven’t tried it in a few weeks to see if we could stretch. I am honestly too worried about my supply dipping. By cutting out a feeding at night, in theory it would really only save me a half hour in the morning since we stay up that late anyway. He typically takes two naps during the day, but they aren’t usually very long. He is still sleeping in a pack and play in our room overnight. I would say that 9/10 times, we are able to put him down awake, and he falls asleep within 5 minutes. We transitioned to the zipadee zip suit for sleeping, and he seems to love it. He has started rolling to his side in his crib, which is terrifying to me. He also has gotten his legs stuck in the crib bars a few times as he rolls around more. I don’t remember the big kids moving around as much as Wally does.

Likes:  He is still obsessed with Daphne. He loves to chew on cloth and his little wobbly toy. He loves to be rubbed like a dog on his belly and under his chin. He likes his activity jumper. He kicks his little legs around like crazy on that thing. He likes VocabuLARRY. He also loves Tom. They have little chats right before we all go to bed, and Tom gets the biggest smile out of him. To be fair, Wally gets the biggest smile out of Tom too.

Dislikes:  He has started getting really impatient with me when I am feeding him. It is really the only time he cries for the most part because I am too slow for his liking.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wally Olly, Butters, Sweet Bean, and Stinkerdoodle. We also have adopted most of Daphne’s nicknames: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter. This last week she started calling him Wallace out of no where. I think the most common are Wally, Wally Bear and Waltie. We also really love to sing Wally Olly to same tune of “Body” by Megan Thee Stallion. Tom has created a whole remix to that song for Wally.

Milestones: He rolls in all directions now. However, he seems to hardly ever do front to back, but he can do it. He is starting to sit up better and better. He is starting to grab for things and is more intentional reaching and touching things. He is putting a lot more weight on his legs and likes to be helped standing.

Quirks:  When we put him to bed at 10:30 in the pack and play, he starts acting like he is paddling. He just throws his legs up and down as hard as he can and then laughs and coos until he falls asleep. It’s a little terrifying because he is so loud and then all of a sudden he’s not. (My anxiety is on a roller coaster when he is sleeping.) When he is changing his diaper he likes to pump out glute bridges, so it is super fun trying to do that task.

We parents are:  living the dream. I will say that work has been incredibly challenging this past month due to various projects ramping up and many extra hours trying to make it all work. I am also super thankful for the opportunity to work from home when I do. And I really do love my job, and the people I work with make it all worth it. I also had some good interactions with students in the past couple weeks that have been a great reminder of why we do what we do. Tom is loving work, and it is so great to see him so happy and with people that value him. We also have been putting in extra effort to get our yard looking better. Tom has taken down half our fence and been clearing out some overgrown areas to make our yard seem twice as big. We also have been getting our veggie garden in tip top shape, so we are excited to see what comes to fruition in the upcoming weeks. It is very rewarding to grow our own food.

Big kids are:  being as crazy as usual. School just ended for George, and I am excited for summer to start so we can just be outside as much as possible. I love seeing them play outside and create new worlds when they explore our yard. We have really expanded their play area this year with removing the fence, so it will be fun to see them engage in new spaces. They both still love Wally and are very excited to watch him start eating things. They think the mess is super hilarious. Daphne is very protective of him, and she loves to tell strangers that he came from my belly. She also sings the sweetest made up songs to him. George loves to try to dance with him.

Grace is: being her sassy self. Some days she acts like the 10 year old dog she is, and then other days she bounds around like a puppy again. She is also very excited that Wally is starting foods at the table. With all the seats full, I am sure she just sees more opportunity to have a buffet on the floor.

In case you are curious, here is George at six months and Daphne at six months.

It’s hard to believe that he has been here for half of a year.

You still seemed like a dream a year ago. And here we are Wally bear!

Walter-5 Months

Walter-5 Months

Weight:  He finally seems to be filling out and getting those baby rolls. I admittedly forgot to weigh him, and he is already down for the night. Whoops. My guess is he is around 15 lbs.

Health: I think he may have allergies like the rest of us. He has had a runny nose and a little cough the last couple weeks. Other than that he is doing so well.

Diet: As I reflect on my breastfeeding experiences, this has been the best feeding journey I have had between the three. While it was rocky for a while there in the beginning, now it is just smooth sailing. I don’t feel like I am fretting about it as much as I did with the other two. He is growing, and I am not feeling like I am bending over backwards to make that happen. We still have all of our freezer stash untouched as well, so I feel good about that and the possibility that we will not need formula as quickly as we did with the others. Walt feeds 6 or 7 times a day, and on average it adds up to 2.5 hours of nursing. He is going 3-4 hours between feedings during the day. My app says that we have had 175 feedings over this last month, and spent 3 days feeding him. I have also pumped 12 times over the month, and I am pumping just enough on the days I am at work for the next time. We have not started the solids yet. He still is a little too bobbleheady for me to feel like he is ready, even though our pediatrician did give us the “all clear.” We’ll just continue with only breastmilk for probably the next month.

Clothes: He is in 3 month clothes and size 2 diaper. I have to say it has been fun getting out the clothes that his older siblings have worn and jumping back to their baby times. I also love babies in rompers and seeing the baby thighs.

Sleeping:  This kid is a dream baby with sleep. For the most part anytime we lay him down, he will eventually go to sleep. He goes to bed around 8pm. Then I wake him up at 10pm for a feeding, and then he goes right back down. I get him up at 5:15am. I am not changing the overnight piece for another little bit. He has either woken up around that 10pm time or he has started waking me up around 4:30/5, so I do not think I could skip that 10pm feeding. And honestly this isn’t a big deal since I am usually still up at that time. He typically takes two naps during the day, but they aren’t usually very long. He is still sleeping in a pack and play in our room overnight. We may stop that soon so we can use the pack and play when we are all outside to give him a little freedom without us holding on to him. I would say that 9/10 times, we are able to put him down awake, and he falls asleep within 5 minutes. We are still using the magic merlin suit, but I think this may be the last month for it.

Likes:  His favorite person is Daphne. He is always scanning the room looking for her, and he laughs so hard at her. He has this one teether that he loves more than any others. It is like a tiny barbell that he can hold on to really well with a bunch of knobs on the ends. He likes VocabuLarry. He also love his activity play yard. He moves all around it and likes kicking all the toys around. He will only snuggle with my mom.

Dislikes:  He still isn’t so happy about baths. He does not like being held laying down. If you cradle him, he will wriggle around to get in a more seated/upright position.

Nicknames: Walt, Wally, Wally Bear, Wally Olly, Butters, Sweet Bean, and Stinkerdoodle. We also have adopted most of Daphne’s nicknames: Waltie baby, Cutie baby, Sweetie baby, Baby guy, and Baby Walter. I think the most common are Wally Bear and Waltie.

Milestones: He has rolled from front to back twice. He seems to be like, “I did this thing so the pediatrician won’t worry but now I am content never rolling again.” He does get to his side from his back, but he doesn’t completely roll over. He will completely turn himself around in circles on the mat. We also put him in the activity jumper for the first time this week.

Quirks:  He is still pretty stoic. It is like he is trying to take in everything before he thoughtfully makes a reaction. He definitely has a fear of missing out. Lately when we have been doing stuff throughout the day, he does his best to stay awake to watch everything.

We parents are:  hanging in there. Tom has been on the midnight shift this past month, so we have all been just kind of existing. It has been tricky to get the quality time as a family since we are trying to just make it through this month. I am excited though for the upcoming month with the potential for more time outside and our garden. Today also ends the spring semester at my institution, so I feel like summer is here which makes me happy. I also have been reflecting a lot lately with the end of the term how far things have come in the last year. It was about this time last year that I found out I was pregnant with Wally bear, and then to do all that we have done during a pandemic….what a time!

Big kids are:  really great siblings in their own ways. It is hard to believe that George is in his last month of kindergarten. He is also having a ball with soccer, even though he is such a space cadet about it. Daphne does things on her own schedule, which is a blessing and a curse all together. She is just the best big sister. She loves making up stories and songs for Wally, and she lives for his reaction. She is a performer for sure!

Grace is: just living her best life. It has been really interesting watching her transition back to being an only dog again. She seems to be a little more frantic and actually gets up during the day to check on all the people and things. We think it is like she realizes she was taking a backseat to being a dog when Crosby was around. He was such an alpha, she didn’t really need to do anything. She has definitely filled in barking at all the things and being more present. She still is fairly lazy, but she doesn’t just lay around the couch for most of the day anymore. It’s a happy thing and sad all at the same time.

In case you are curious, here is George at five months and Daphne at five months.

Thank you for being the calm in the craziness of our lives. I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store for you Wally!