Six months old, lil man

Every once in a while over the past few days, Scott and I will just stop — in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a march to get some item on the ever-growing to-do list done. Stop and just say something along the lines of, “Half a year, really?”

Then we do a funny laugh or smile at one another. Then comes the silence. Just 30 seconds or so, but it feels like an hour. Our eyes go out way far ahead of the moment we’re actually in (or are they going back in time?) and then a shake of the head and it’s over. Until the next realization later that night or the next morning.

We’ve watched the first-through-fifth months fly by and it hasn’t hit us quite like this one. There’s something about one-half of a year with this unbelievable, impressionable, life-changing entity in your world.

I sometimes can’t help but compare months of Zack’s life with the months I spent pregnant. And it’s impossible not to compare how slowly my first six months of pregnancy seemed to go at the time. Or how unfair it is that the six months of Zack’s life have gone by much faster than I would have liked.

Yesterday he was just a cute lil blob we were getting used to. Today he’s rolling and babbling and raspberrying. Tomorrow he’ll be driving to his job at the White House.

Sigh. As long as he has quit his new addiction of blowing raspberries/poofs by then. Or not. It’s like the one thing he can do that instantly makes me and Scott burst into giggles. Like after Scott put him to bed the other night and then called me (at work) so that I could hear the last of a five-minute series of raspberries from the dude who was supposed to be sleeping. Scott was almost in hysterics and I could just make out this muffled “pffft” sound over the static-filled monitor.

 

 

It’s been a great month. We’re starting to have so many “firsts” happen that it’s hard to keep track of them all, and I’m certain this will the month where I finally completely forget one. Or two.

 

Sitting up is all the rage. We can see more things, look directly into faces and admire sunshine coming in through the windows or movement on the TV.

Despite all of our previous weeks of complaining about how much Belly Time sucked, we just can’t get enough of it now. Zack gets put on the floor and usually within SECONDS, he’s flipped over to the tummy, often times followed by drool and/or a milk mustache, depending on how soon after a meal it is.

Speaking of rolling, the other day Zack was on the floor and he flipped, in quick succession, to his stomach from his back and then returned to his back while flipping in the same direction. And then looked up at us like, “WHOA!”

Our therapy with Early Intervention is going great. Miss Kathleen, our PT, said last week’s physical therapy session was THE BEST ONE YET. And congratulated Z’s parents on working hard with him because it’s paying off. Mommy Tears? You betcha. I could have (should have?) hugged that lady. Maybe this week…

 

Then there’s food. Mmmm. Not sure if there is really enough food for Zack to eat sometimes. Eating 8 ounces of formula at a time is nothing big for Lil Big Dude. Combine that with our absolute love for wheat cereal (movin’ on up from last month’s rice cereal adventure), and we are all quite pleased with his perfectly round belly.Which is where he prefers to rest his hands a lot of times now. So cute!

 

Z-Man’s desire to literally reach out and grab everything he can get his hands on is so exhilarating for his parents to watch. He reaches up, up, up over his head if the toy is interesting enough to him. And will follow it with his eyes in all directions.

He grabs on to things with such ferocity and strength, too, often smiling when he achieves victory.

And the hair. Oh, the hair.

It’s no longer reddish in color, which Daddy is quite happy about, apparently in a hatred of all Irish people! It’s becoming very, very light blond. And there are some days ZZ still rocks the mohawk and other days where it’s very much a Donald Trump combover. The funniest, however, is when it’s a cross of the two. All party and business all over the place. And our big ole bald spot in the back is starting to go away, too, which makes the hair on the bottom look less than a mullet (which makes Mommy happy).

And there is one strand of hair by his one ear that has to be four inches long. All by itself. Hysterical.

 

He’s still a pretty mellow, happy-go-lucky Duders most of the time.

His parents think he’s starting the teething process (hello, drool!) and so we have more cranky-potamus moments than we used to, but even those are pretty easy to handle. Especially with all that blubber on his chin. 🙂

 

He gets in the funniest positions, too, usually involving his feet resting where his hands should be or grabbing for a toy with his toes instead of rolling over to reach out with his arms.

 

We don’t know his weight or length at this point, but we head to the doctor’s for a check-up on Thursday, so we should have some fun details then. (And perhaps the green light for something crazy — like a veggie or two!!!)

 

 

 

This has been my favorite month so far.

 

Life is good. Great. Grand. Perfect. And this guy reminds us of that every single day.

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Five Months Old!

Our little big guy turned five months old a couple of days ago.

 

 

 

I think I just need a recording to play on repeat that says: I can NOT believe how quickly the time is going by already!

 

 

I sat down to write this post just now, amazed at all of the accomplishments and changes I’ve noticed these past few weeks when lo and behold, The Dude decides while frolicking in his rainforest jungle gym to show off for his mom and dad and he rolled over from his belly to his back for the first time!

And then he did it again. And then again.

Three times doing a new feat in less than five minutes. Showoff!

Actually, that’s typical Zack. We are already coming across delays and speedbumps that make it difficult to NOT compare with his friends, but we now know that the wait is well worth it. When Zack does master a new skill, whether it’s holding his head up or tolerating sitting up a little longer, he just zooms forward and makes us forget there was even a time that we struggled with the feat.

As I watch him pull with both hands at his sock, which is gradually coming off his foot, I really have to force myself to remember the not-so-distant past when we waited eagerly for him to reach for things with even one hand.

And the flipping over to his belly was impossible even a few days ago. Then, suddenly, we went from screaming through barely five minutes’ of Tummy Time to this weekend, when it became absolutely normal for time on our belly to be pleasant and active and last more than 10 or 15 minutes. He’s not just laying there on the floor, he’s lifting his head up and looking around and I can’t wait to show off this skill to the physical therapist this week.

We are coming up to our three-month mark working with our therapists from Early Intervention already and Miss Kathleen and Miss Sheri have become important parts of lives. Zack is more accustomed to both of them and works well with them each week. We had a lot of homework over our Christmas vacation and we worked this baby hard every day, to the point where my dad would be yelling, “My grandson’s sad! Get him up and don’t work him so hard…” until we explained these were his exercises and were important to his successful development. Soon, he and my stepmother were on the floor urging him onto his belly or sitting next to him giving him things to grab.

 

 

Our great Christmas adventure was an important part of Zack’s last month. He added more states to the list of places he’s been to (or through): We’re now up to PA, NJ, NY, CT, MA, WV, MD. Our little guy was a huge hit with all of the special loved ones we met along the way. He did well during the travels, considering he turned out to be dealing with his first cold, mixed up his days and nights and wanting some Momma Milk pretty much around the clock for comfort.

Speaking of Momma Milk… we officially ended breastfeeding this week. Momma and Baby are both handling the adjustment fairly well.

 

Rice cereal became a new staple of the boy’s diet, too. Momma and Daddy take turns feeding him spoonful after eagerly-anticipated spoonful, which is part mess and part entertainment. He’s doing great with it, though.

 

At our doctor’s appointment nearly four weeks ago, Zack weighed 14 pounds, 3 ounces and was 27 inches long. It’s a great weight and length and everybody’s pleased with how he’s doing.

It’s been a great time. And Month Six is looking to be pretty special, too.

Baby check-up

Zack had a pediatrician check-up appointment today.

I think Dr. D is about the only doctor I’ve EVER been excited to go to. Z-man’s doc is a cool fella — a sharp dresser (a Hawaiian shirt our first visit, an awesome multi-piece suit this time), an awesome personality and first-hand experience as the parent of a child with Down Syndrome.

Scott and I (and Zack!) just love him!

 

Anyway, at Zack’s visit, he weighed 14 pounds, 3 ounces and was about 26 inches long. And for all of you caring (cough, weirdos, cough) folks who care about this measurement, his head was 16 inches in circumference. And because most of you will have the question of “where does he fall compared to other babies” now, I found this at http://www.babycenter.com:

Based on the data you submitted, your child falls into the following percentiles:

Length = between percentile 75 and 90
Weight = between percentile 25 and 50
Head Circumference = between percentile 5 and 10

Of course there’s a growth chart for babies with Down Syndrome. According to charts provided by the National Down Syndrome Society (www.ndss.org), Zack’s length is above the 90th percentile for length. His weight is between the 75th and 90th percentiles. And his noggin is about at the 75th percentile.

A couple of issues that we were concerned about were addressed with a no-big-deal attitude from our doctor, so I am breathing a little easier tonight. The doctor was so very pleased with Zack and told us that we were truly blessed with how well he’s doing so far.

 

 

It couldn’t end on a very happy note though, as The Dude had to get two shots in the chunky part of his thighs.

He cried for a minute or so but was comforted rather quickly and off we went, with two Band-Aids to mark the scene of the crime.

 

 

One of the things I love about Dr. D’s office is the inspiration — not just from a positive doctor and his obvious compassion for Zack, but for the messages throughout his office. In the waiting room is a sign that says “Worry ends where faith begins.” So true, right?

Then today, I noticed this message hanging in the room we were in. It was perfect for my latest mindset.

It read, in part:

“All men are driven by faith or fear — one or the other — for both are the same. Faith or fear is the expectation of an event that hasn’t come to pass or the belief in something that cannot be seen or touched…”

“… Faith is to believe in what is not seen. The reward of faith is to see what one believed…”

(and then my favorite part…)

“In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at halftime. The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.”

 

 

 

Have faith, friends. It’s all around us.

 

 

 

Sometimes staring you right in the face.

 

Four Months Old

One. Done.

Two. Came and went.

Three. Flew by.

Four?! Four months already???!

The Dude, formerly known as Baby Z and before that, a lil poppy seed, is four months old today. I know everybody says time goes by quickly, but this is almost unreal.

Anyway, this has been a great and exciting month.

We’re not sure about Zack’s weight since we don’t own a scale and don’t go back to the doctor’s office until next week, but we figure he’s got to be about 17 pounds, give or take a little. And our yardstick just told us that he’s about 26 inches long!

He eats 5 to 7 ounces or for about 30 to 45 minutes every three or four hours. And would probably not stop eating if he had a choice. Thankfully, he doesn’t.

He’s wearing 6-9 months clothes, although his shirts are usually tight and his pants are too long. The boy’s all torso. We’re also now in Size 2 diapers.

We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving and visitors that included Aunt Shelby, Uncle Shamus and Aunt Michelle from New Jersey and an honorary aunt and two honorary uncles from Baltimore. We met new friends David, Lexie and Hailey, too.

Zack has seen his first snow, albeit briefly and only in flurry form so far.

 

 

Momma got her brand new, fantastic camera and has been obsessed with taking Zack’s photo this month.

 

 

 

The mohawk continues to grow. Z’s hair is getting much longer and some days it stays relatively flat, but it looks REALLY ridiculous then, with some plastered against his head and some flipping two inches up in the air. We get so many comments on his hair, and we love it (even the old ladies who yell at us for “doing that” to him).

 

 

 

We gave up the swaddle this month after Zack made it a game every night and every morning. He’d toss and turn and talk out loud as he tried to get first one arm, and then another arm out of the fabric. If the velcro was loose enough, sometimes he’d even get his legs out and it would turn out to be more of a cape than a wearable blanket. He sleeps in a ‘sleep sack’ now, which is going much better.

 

 

 

 

Zack is very curious and observant now. Suddenly, he sees EVERYTHING, whether it’s a moving person or a new toy or the lights on the Christmas tree. He just HAS to follow things with his eyes, studying every detail.

 

 

 

 

Zack has just, in the last few days, and thanks to our physical therapist Kathleen, started to sit up better and for longer periods of time. It is the first of many amazing feats that I feel I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to experience. The anticipation and delay is so worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My other favorite thing that Zack is practicing often is his smile. It’s a gorgeous, huge smile that just fills up the entire room. And his giggles. Oh, don’t get me started on the giggles. He gives them out for free and they’re worth so very much. Man, I love the giggles.

 

 

 

 

Zack isn’t the only one that grows each month. Scott and I both learn so much from him and about him.

Scott has always been a great father, but now it’s just so amazing to watch. He and Zack are most definitely going to have a special bond that no one else can every compete with in this lifetime.

My favorite time of the day is waking up and listening to Zack’s babbles (he now talks to the puppy decal on the wall above his crib) while I get dressed and ready for work. I go in to his room and am, on some days, greeted by a sound that seriously sounds like “hi” along with a  signature Zack Smile. My world is complete in those moments and empty when I’m not with him.

 

Another great month.