Today’s post is on Keith. He is almost 6 ½ months old now. He is doing great and thriving in every way. However, he isn’t an easy baby, so we haven’t had any time or energy for writing blog posts.
Developmentally, Keith has been ahead on most things. He was born with unusually strong neck muscles and never really needed much head support. Also, from day one he opened his eyes, made funny faces, and generally had a lot of personality. He started batting at toys at three weeks old. At three months, he started standing up (supported by mom or dad), discovered his feet, and his vision cleared up. Once he could see well, he became remarkably observant and attentive for a baby. He started sitting up all by himself at 4 1/2 months. Now he can stand up while holding onto inanimate objects for support. It won’t be long before he is pulling himself up. He seems to be starting to understand words we say to him now, too.
He is still expressive and full of personality. He constantly makes us laugh with the funny things he does. He loves to exercise his vocal chords and makes all kinds of interesting noises, from fake coughs to fake choking to pterodactyl sounds to panting like a dog to high pitched shrieks to deep, throaty grunts.
Christi started taking Keith to swim lessons when he was 10 weeks old. Of course, we enrolled him in swimming at such a young age because with our life style, he needs to know how to swim. But, after watching many other little kids start swimming, Christi now recommends everyone start their baby swimming before six months old. Babies under six months love the water and take to swimming immediately. After the six month mark, the older they get, the more traumatic swim lessons become for them.
We also started taking him to Baby Sign Language classes last week. We’ve decided that trying to figure out what is making him cry by using ESP sucks. We want him to be able to tell us. Supposedly, in about two months he will be able to start talking in Sign. Of course, that is dependent on how good a job we do of teaching him. We’ll let you know how it goes.
As we mentioned before, one of the reasons Keith has been difficult is because we believe he has GERD, which is baby acid reflux. Christi chose the hard road of controlling the problem by eating a very restricted diet and using herbal remedies, which kept the fussing from being terrible but still left him a bit fussy. We were advised to give him a prescription medication or put him on formula so Christi could eat normally, but we felt like breast feeding and no drugs was the best thing for Keith’s long term health. His digestion got a little better after he started sitting up, and after he passed the six month mark his digestion got significantly better. Christi’s diet now isn’t as restricted as it was before, but it isn’t back to normal yet, either.
The other reason Keith was difficult was because right after his three-month birthday he refused to nap anymore. There were a myriad of suspected reasons. His vision had just cleared up and he seemed to be much more interested in looking around – even at the walls – than in sleeping. The weather had just warmed up and he got really hot and sweaty during the day. His tummy may not have been feeling good from the acid reflux. Maybe it was too bright or noisy for him. Maybe it was newby parents not knowing how to force naps. Maybe it was some combination of all the above. The good news is he started napping again right after his six-month birthday.
The three to six month window was tough for Christi. The first three months, Christi would make food, do chores and/or nap while Keith napped. She didn’t get much done during the day, but at least a few things got done. Once the napping ended, she couldn’t get ANYTHING done. Keith is a demanding baby that wants constant attention. When he is in a bad mood, he is even more demanding. With no naps, Keith was a grump every afternoon.
So, here Christi was… still getting up twice a night to feed, not getting a nap in for herself, dealing with a screaming, difficult, grumpy baby the entire day with no breaks, and not eating much (with the restricted diet, pre-made food was hard to come by and cooking was out of the question.) She was exhausted, stressed out by the baby, perpetually hungry and overwhelmed by the amount of things she needed to do that were piling up.
When Keith was a little over five months old, we hired a nanny to come in ten hours a week to give Christi an opportunity to get some life chores done. It isn’t much, but those ten hours have made Christi’s quality of life better. Keith also started to nap at 6 months, so most days she is now able to get a nap herself and/or a chore or two done, and Keith is in a better mood most of the time. She wouldn’t say things are easy now, but at least she is feeling like they are more manageable.
Eric is doing well and loves fatherhood. He has tried to help Christi out as much as possible, but work has been demanding for him and his ability to help is limited.
Here is a gallery of photos:
Twelve Weeks (which is only 2 3/4 months since months are slightly longer than 4 weeks):
Here is Keith at four months. He makes adorable faces like this all the time, but we rarely catch them with the camera:
Starting to sit up at four months:
Four and a half months:
Four and a half months:
Almost five months:
Eric teaching Keith to play video games (six months):
Six and a half months:
In case you missed them, here are a few more posts with pictures of Keith: A couple from his birth; Keith’s first few days; Keith’s first week; Keith’s second and third week; a few pictures from when he was between four and seven weeks old; photos from when we took him to Catalina at twelve weeks old, and one from when he was five and a half months. We have another post about our Catalina trip coming, as well, which will have more photos of Keith when he was twelve weeks old.