Jake is already 8 months old, and I feel like rather than inching toward that first birthday, he's barreling toward it. As I uploaded pictures to iPhoto last night, I caught sight of a sweet picture of Jake right around Christmas, when he was just a couple of weeks old. He was so little and sweet, all snug and tight and swaddled. It just baffles me how it feels like we were just there, swaddling him, helping him sleep all the time, and dealing with all that newborn stuff, and now he is pulling up, army-crawling all over, and I lay him down in his crib and he puts himself to sleep, no swaddling, shushing, etc. How does it go by so quickly??
Jake recently experienced another baby rite of passage- his first time in the Tupperware cabinet. He hasn't yet figured out how to open the cabinets (other than the little plastic one on the play kitchen), but I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before we have to break out the cabinet locks again.
Jake is still army-crawling, though he is getting up on his hands and knees and taking a couple of steps forward on his hands and knees. After a couple of steps, though, he usually drops his tummy and resorts to army-crawling. I cheer like crazy when he stays up on all fours, though, hoping that soon he'll catch on and that will be the default mode of transportation. Jake loves to crawl over to the plant and grab the leaves, but I think he definitely is learning that Mom always tells him no when he does that. I swear he grabs for a leaf and looks for me. It's amazing how early they learn that kind of thing. I just read that babies start to learn cause and effect as early as 2 months, so I suppose he does know he'll get my attention by going for the plant. He also likes to crawl on the shelf that is under our little end-table, where he can find lots of computer cords and my knitting stuff. Like the plant, that also garners Mom moving Jake to a different area. He really likes to crawl under anything he can, and frequently goes under the kitchen table and chairs. This is okay, except that he often ends up hitting his forehead on the horizontal bars of the kitchen chairs because he hasn't learned to duck his head far enough yet. Going under his exersaucer is fun, too.
Jake reaches out to touch the dogs more and more, which usually results in lots of licking. In the picture below, Maggie either wanted to just cuddle with Jake, or she wanted the blue dryer ball he was playing with. Knowing Maggie, I think it was probably the latter.
Jake seems to really enjoy swinging in the swing in our backyard. He (and Foudy) also like it when I blow bubbles. I think Jake prefers to suck on the bubbles bottle, and Foudy prefers to chase bubbles.
The other day Zach and Drew were out on the deck, sitting on the bench, and the big door was open but the screen door was shut. Jake crawled over there and quickly realized that he could not get out there, and he was definitely mad about it. He laid there, looked up at his brothers, and fussed, making it very clear that he wanted to be out there with them. The next day he crawled over to check out Maggie on the other side of the door.
One of Jake's other new skills is pulling up. Last weekend I set him down next to a toy that is meant for standing at, and I quickly put something away in my bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom a minute later, Jake was standing at the toy. He's not very stable yet, so I make sure to stay close-by when I think he's about to pull up. He also is getting up on his knees a lot to reach things. As a result, we moved his crib mattress down to the lowest level this week.
A few weeks ago I took Jake to the doctor for a weight check. At his 6 month appointment, the doctor said to come back in 6 weeks to check his weight since his percentile had dropped. Thankfully in that 6 weeks, Jake gained 1 pound, putting him at 16 lbs. 10 oz. From the 6 month appointment to the 9 month appointment, the average weight gain is 2 pounds, so he was right on track. However, he dropped from the 75%ile at 9 weeks to the 39%ile at 4 months to the 17%ile at 6 months to the 11%ile at 7 months 19 days. He's still on the longer side at 27.8 inches, which puts him at the 62%ile. The weight thing bugs me, but I'm trying not to get too worried about it. I explained to the pediatrician that I was nursing him 4x a day (every 4 hours) and feeding him solids 3x a day, but that at the 2 middle nursing sessions, Jake was distracted and not that hungry. The pediatrician suggested taking out the middle feeding of solids so that Jake would take more calories from milk. Breast milk has an average of 20 calories per ounce, and baby food generally has fewer calories than that. My sisters and I always seem to have small kids, so I guess we must naturally make skim milk, right? Anyway, it seems like Jake is doing a little better with nursing, but it's hard to tell. The kid is just so busy, too. He hardly ever sits still, and I figure that since he rolled over and got mobile so early, he probably is burning a lot of calories. I'm very curious to see what he weighs at his 9 month appointment. Hopefully he gains another pound or more.
The other major milestone we've met is that Jake has just recently dropped that third, late afternoon nap. It's kind of a mixed blessing. It's nice to have more awake time for him in the afternoon/evening so we can do things, but it also takes away my baby-free dinner prep time. As a result of taking out that last nap, Jake needs to go to bed a bit earlier, so now he typically wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 (I'm working on pushing his wake-up time back to 7:00 by not going into his room until then, hoping that will naturally get him to sleep a little later), takes his first nap around 8:35/9:00 (generally right at 2 hours after waking up, which is why I'm trying to push him back to 7:00 for waking up), sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half, takes his next nap around 12:45/1:00, and wakes up between 2:30 and 3:00, and then is in bed by 7:00. All in all it's worked out to be a pretty good schedule, although it is sometimes tough to squeeze in any errands or anything between 11:00 and 1:00 and also feed everybody lunch. Once Drew starts preschool a couple of days a week, I'll need Jake to not take his nap until at least 9:00 (that's what time I drop Drew off), so hopefully he'll start consistently sleeping until 7:00. It would be great, too, if his nap and Drew's nap overlapped a little more (Drew usually goes down at 2:00), but right now I'll take what I can get.
Well, speaking of naps, I think Jake is awake from his afternoon nap right now, so I better go check on that little pumpkin. He's just such a sweet, happy baby, and I'm trying to be sure to enjoy each stage since I know Jake is our last. Oh- through a former student who volunteers with refugee families in the area, I was able donate 3 boxes of baby clothes, our Bumbo seat, activity gym, and bouncy seat to an Ethiopian family with 3 boys under age 4. It feels so great to have helped out that family and to be rid of some of our clutter. I'm looking forward to continuing to purge stuff every few months as Jake outgrows clothes, though some items (particularly those that all 3 boys wore) are a little tough to say goodbye to.