Good grief, I'm behind. And the further I let myself get the worse it is. SO MUCH HAPPENING.
When last I left you, I had a child with a runny nose and clingy fussiness. The nose cleared up, the fussiness lingered through the weekend before Thanksgiving. He just wanted attention, attention, to be held, held.
I was really concerned about the 4.5 hour drive we had for the holiday and how he'd do away from home, since the last big trip we took with him - to Texas - turned into a nightmare. It coincided with the 4 month sleep regression. I strongly suspected that this one would coincide with the 8 month one. That weekend we also went back to two feeds a night, which we hadn't done in AGES.
Fortunately, my fears were for naught. We drove about an hour and a half, and Nate slept for about an hour of it. Then we did some shopping and let him crawl around a bit in the 'husband chair' section of the stores, had lunch, did some more shopping, got back in the car just in time for another nap. We stopped by my grandparents' house and they met Nate for the first time. He was lovely for them - full of smiles and happy to show off crawling and laughing and sitting and other various baby milestones.
We rented a house about 45 minutes south with my parents and brother & family for $82/night, and it was enormous. Rob and I took the master bedroom, which had a bathroom the size of our living room, because PAST the bathroom was a giant walk-in closet big enough for Nate's pack 'n play. The place had three sitting areas, 2.5 baths, four bedrooms, two flat screen tvs, a lovely kitchen with an island, and a table that seats 8. It was really great for everyone to hang out in. Eight of us stayed full-time, and another 5, including my grandparents, came for Thanksgiving.
At one point my nephew (6) was taking a bath and my SIL asked if Nate could join him. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever. I could hear a ton of splashing and giggling from downstairs. When I went up to watch, my nephew was holding Nate's green frog and going 'froggie froggie froggie' at him, and Nate was cackling.
The pair of them were a hoot all weekend. My nephew spent a lot of time playing with him and reading do him. Nate soaked up everyone's attention. He actually slept really well the whole time, and was in a good mood.
He also learned some new skills. He's started laughing when things are funny rather than just when he's ticklish. He'll laugh at funny faces or voices or unexpected things. He's gotten really good at going from sitting to his tummy without crashing by leaning forward over his legs. He's started pulling up on things, and last week managed to climb the first step from our den to our kitchen.
He had a real Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, green beans, stuffing, rolls, and noodles. He's nearly got his pincher grasp down, which shocked me. One day I looked over and watched him pick up a small bite and put it in his mouth without his fist getting in the way, and it was wild. It's funny how big these steps seem when 'putting things in our mouths' is such a basic skill for most adults. He can do cheerios on his own now. This means that I no longer have to find things that can be cut into big strips so he can hold one end and gnaw the other one - I can cut up small pieces and he can eat them.
We've started feeding him more of the food we're cooking. Last week he had gnocchi and shredded chicken from a spicy mexican bowl we made. Loved both. I fished some tomatoes out of my tomato soup and made him half a grilled cheese. My SIL suggested freezing yogurt into yogurt drops so he could feed them to himself, so now he usually gets two of those after a meal as a sort of dessert. He really hated the cold at first and made really hilarious faces, but he's getting the hang of letting it melt slowly in his mouth.
Our ride home was a little rougher, because we drove 3.5 hours straight without stopping. Nate was clearly sick of the carseat, and we bought extra time with hardcore distractions like cheerios and noise games.
Oh! That's the other new thing. Right before Thanksgiving, when he was really whiny, we'd start to bounce him, and he discovered that bouncing while making noise produced an interesting effect. He'd get distracted from crying and start making noise just to hear it.
So in a similar situation, my mom started patting her hand over his mouth to make the 'wah-wah' noise, and he loves it. It's really funny to listen to him start and stop his noise in time to your hand.
He's been SUPER vocal this week, in fact. Jabbering to himself just about constantly, and loudly, with a wider variety of sounds. This is the most babbling I've ever heard him do. Sometimes he does it in the morning and it's so loud it keeps me up unless I close both doors between us (at which point I can't hear him cry). I try to only do this if I'll be up within 20 minutes anyway.
Sleep has been a bit up and down. It's never been more than up twice, but that's been rough to re-adapt to. The last several nights have only been once, though, so hopefully we're getting back on schedule. I've skipped his 11 PM feeding a couple of times and I honestly don't think it makes a difference either way, so I'm going to work on cutting that FOR REAL unless I see consistent additional wake-ups. It'll mean me getting into bed earlier.
I mean, ideally I'd just start toward bed and feed him earlier, but that's not the reality. The reality is that I start toward bed at the same time regardless, so if I feed him, that's 15-20 minutes later that I sleep. It feels a little like he's trying to come out of whatever the crap sleep was and reestablish a 'normal' - his wakeups are unpredictable right now. One night he slept until 5:00 and I got a full 6 hours IN A ROW. Last night he work at 2:30, but then slept til 6:30. So I don't know.
Still no teeth poking through, but there is a general consensus that we can see them under his gums. I don't know. I guess we'll have teeth when we have them! I don't know what all the fussiness bad sleeping was about if not that, but there are so many options. Sleep regression, growth spurt, developmental milestones, etc etc etc.
Here's what's wild: by Christmas Nate will be pretty much 9 months. On the outside as long as on the inside.
Some kids are walking by then. I wouldn't be surprised if Nate's working on it. He's usually on the early side for motor stuff and a little further behind for vocal stuff, and he's on a serious 'learning to pull up' mission right now. Though he's still military crawling.
WALKING. Guys. WALKING.