Christopher Updates
Archive of September 2001-May 2002

Third Day of Life

At first I wasn't sending updates because I'd just had a c-section, had a new little guy to get to know, was very anemic, had cut my finger enough to need three sutures, and got the flu, all while trying to learn to breastfeed and not getting much if any sleep. Thank dog I had Dave and his sister Lin doing a lot of the work around then.

1 October 2001
I just thought you might like to know that the blond fuzz Christopher was born with has been growing in darker. He's currently got medium brown hair with blond tips. Very fashionable!

16 October 2001
I can't wait to find out what color his eyes are going to be. The blue is about gone, leaving a definite grey, but he's got a lighter circle of it closer to the pupil. I don't know what color to put on his passport application. Is grey the destination or just a stop-over? Anything is still possible. I can't figure out his hair color either.

18 October 2001
Christopher seems to have grown between the time I went to bed (midnight) and when he woke me up for a feed (2am). His head seems bigger, and he seems to have more baby fat. I tell ya, ya gotta watch them every second or they just EXPAND!

30 October 2001
Christopher had his first swimming lesson today. At first he liked it, then he freaked out a little. We're instructed to get in the bath with him and let him float (supported) before the next class. He started sucking his hands for comfort, so he got breastfed in the shallow end of the pool. We'll have to get pictures of him in his tiny swimming suit. Very cute.

3 November 2001
We took Christopher for his first Costco run today. It's over an hour away, so we buy a lot when we go. No room for the stroller in the car, so he got to ride all around the store in a baby sling. He seemed to like it, and people kept admiring him. We got a sling from the US, and it's a kind I don't think is sold over here, so few people were expecting to see him tucked in there. Alas, there were no baby books for sale, so we'll have to hit the car boot sales some time soon. He just loves being read to.

11 November 2001
I've decided he's only a part-time baby. Sometimes he's just Christopher, but there are occasional outbursts of Baby. The Baby cries and squeals, Christopher does not. He's just trapped in a body that won't do what he wants yet. He's been having a good time grinning at Daddy this weekend.

16 November 2001
I talked to the organizer on the phone today, and she says the babies will get to go under water soon!

Christopher had his first set of vaccines this week and it's starting to get cold out, so he's been a bit "grizzly," as the English would say. Of course he's had his insanely cute moments too. He just woke up from a nap, and we just had a lovely game of football. He's not much good with his hands yet, but any time we put his Emeren ball by his feet, he'd smile and kick it away. Endless fun!

21 November 2001
Christopher met Janet Geary today. They seemed to get along fine. Janet even said she approved of Dave.

Christopher is now an official US citizen with his own passport and everything. Social security number to follow. He was really good for his long day out, only fussing briefly three times when he was hungry. Me be impressed, especially given how grouchy he was all last week.

23 November 2001
We took some passport photos on Sunday when Christopher was grouchy. He ended up with a crying photo. His head was a little too small in it and it wasn't looking straight on at the camera as it should be, so I tried again on Tuesday and got one of him sleeping. We presented both at the embassy. The crying one was returned to us with the comment "that's just cruel."

9 December 2001
This weekend Christopher learned to use his hands. Up until now, he just waved his arms around randomly, but now he can grasp things and move individual fingers independent of one another. He's into holding toys and stroking different textures. He moves his fingers as if he is playing an invisible piano. We tried a baby yoga class on Thursday and he wonders why we didn't do it sooner. We are now working on refining the concept of "bedtime."

15 December 2001
As of the 13th of December, our baby is officially three months old. Almost time to stop giving his age in weeks.

Christopher is trying to learn to talk, and spends a lot of time making word sounds. Unfortunately for us, they are not in English, and we're not sure what they mean yet. He did seem to request "hummus" this weekend. He was delighted when I confirmed what he'd ordered, disappointed when I said we didn't have any. His experiments with his hands are progressing well and he can make good attempts at grabbing for things.

He impressed his baby yoga classmates (or their mothers at least) by demonstrating standing on his own (with someone else providing balance), sitting up with a straight spine and squared shoulders (again with balance from someone else), and being the first to demonstrate hanging upside down. He seems to truly adore the baby massage portion of the classes. He flirts shamelessly with the other mothers. In swimming class he went under water again, and got to use a kick board (with me holding him on).

He also got to visit Daddy at work one day in order to have someone witness that the photo of him being sent in for his British passport is a true likeness. Consensus of the people working and loitering around the reception desk seemed to be that he is a lovely baby. He demonstrated his standing skills for them and also earned the distinction of the only baby ever seen to smile and laugh through a nappy change.

He got a new set of holes in his skin, more vaccinations, which he took better than the first set. After those he was distinctly crabby but this time he was in better humour.

Bedtime experiments have been moderately successful, with more emphasis on the ritual of winding down and accepting the crib than on the specific time it all happens. We'll build on success as success comes, without stressing him out over it all.

23 December 2001
The boy now unofficially weighs 14 pounds, which is a stone in the UK. He was about 8 pounds at birth, so he has either 3 weeks or 12 weeks to gain 2 pounds to be on time for doubling his birth weight, depending on whether you believe it should be at 4 months or 6 months. I've read both.

Christopher has his first cold this week and is being a big dog about it. I've assured him that being able to manage your own snot is one of the nice things about being a grown up, but that he should just accept our help with it for the time being. Both adults have the cold too, and are moderately miserable. I spent the day Friday with an irritated eye from the cold, and was thinking how unusual it was that it was my right eye because usually it's my left eye that gets irritated. It wasn't until late that night that I realized it WAS my left eye that was irritated. Damn those histamines! Christopher is coughing his cute little baby cough, and after a string of them now says a baby word, I think it's usually "aiiiiiiiiDA!" "haaaaoooooouuh." It's definitely an exclamation, not just a grunt or cry.

The cat can't decide whether he approves of snow or not. He still goes out, but doesn't want to be out for long. I'm with him on this at the moment.

I already read one of my christmas books, a novel which is set primarily in San Francisco (by Armistead Maupin). I'm horrified to realize I can't remember the locations of all the streets mentioned in it any more. It's only been three years! And a lifetime, I suppose.

Not much going on here, just vague puttering around. More news to follow if any ever happens again.

24 December 2001
Did I already mention that Christopher got really happy when I told him that it wouldn't be terribly long before he could pee in a toilet and change his underwear when ever he wanted (unless told to do so more often than he wanted to)?

He seem to want to sit up straight today. His recliner chair isn't doing it for him. Good muscle coordination as he brings his head and shoulders up at the same time as his knees to try to sit up. I think he might roll himself over in the next few days.

31 December 2001
Christopher had a nice float in the bath with Daddy last night. He hasn't been swimming in several weeks, and as soon as his little bum hit the water, he got this sweet, contented look on his face. We let him splash his legs and pivot his hips for 10-15 minutes before washing him and making him get dressed. I think he would have been happy to stay in there for an hour.

12 January 2002

The swimming turns out to have been a very good thing to do. He was upset and Mandraking tonight (well, much of the day), and I finally took him into a bath with me. He relaxed immediately. It's nice he's such a good water baby.

1 April 2002
The boy has accepted a second food now. After rejecting apples and bananas and carrots, he has accepted peas. There is hope after all. He didn't want much, but he did open his mouth for 8-10 bites. With apples it was only twice, the third under duress.

Flu with a baby would have been impossible if he's been able to get around at all. As it was I just put him on Dave's side of the bed and resigned myself to entire days with no nappy changes (just while dave was at work). It was boring for him, but he got well rested and well fed.

9 April 2002
Christopher just had his first introduction to "Apple and Apricot" baby food. He ate the whole jar in one sitting. We have an apricot boy! Parents are pleased that there is a fruit he will eat, and that he is not just resting on the laurels of his success with "cheesy vegetables" last night. Another flavor tomorrow!

14 April 2002
He favors foods with cheese in them, but seems willing to eat just about anything now. He wasn't impressed with fromage frais, but I'm fine with letting him wait a while on that. Dave fed him "carrots and sweetcorn" and "bananas and strawberries rice pudding" today, and judged them each to be about a three stars reception. Veg with cheese usually gets four stars.

21 April 2002
Christopher is now a bit over seven months of age, and getting new skills every day. He's learned to blow very wet raspberries, and does so for long periods of time every day. He's also quite proficient at eating food, and would do so all the time if we let him. When he first started with food, he only liked baby rice. Now he likes almost everything. He seems especially fond of any vegetables with cheese, but also loves fruit mush. He'll take his first bite of any food with a sour expression while he contemplates its intricacies, then start asking for more by learning forward with his mouth open. Sometimes he says "MO" or "ummmMO!" and even occasionally "MOA." This is different from his call for breastmilk, which is "ma-ma-ma-ma."

As a result of this, he has now learned to fill his nappies with entirely new substances. He's gone from infant poop to something that might roll away if not attended to properly in the past week or two. No temptation to bronze them though, Kaye.

He's able to roll over from front to back or back to front, left or right. He can do it all. He gets on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, unable to figure out how to make the body go forward. He usually ends up on his hands and feet in a letter A sort of pose (dog pose in yoga?) but can't go anywhere in that configuration either. It's just a matter of time.

He is put to bed on his back with his feet at the food of his crib, but when we go to check on him a short time later we find him with his head at the head of the crib, face down, bum in the air.

We had him weighed this week, and he tipped the scales at 17 pounds 1 ounce. He seems big to me, but he's in about the 15th percentile for boys his age. We'll get his height checked in another month or two, but no one is worried. He's bright, happy, and has loads of energy. He's just the kind of boy who doesn't weigh as much as most others. When we carry him around a lot, we like the way he's decided to do it.

13 May 2002
Christopher is eight months old today.

He's made great progress in getting around, although he still can't go far or fast. He's simultaneously working out how to crawl and how to stand up on his own. He got frustrated yesterday because he got stuck in reverse, and the more he tried to go forward, the further back he went. His standing is usually achieved by climbing things (people) with his hands, or pushing up off something with his hands rather than pulling up, and once he gets there it's just a second or two until he goes tumbling back to earth. He loves the trying though, and will spend hours trying to work it all out. If there is something to hold on to with both hands, such as his playpen railing, he can stand without adult help until he forgets he needs both hands and lets go with one.

He hasn't got much to say in English, but he chatters extensively in baby-speak, and responds to instructions in English. If we offer him finger food, he opens his mouth to be fed, but when we say "take it with your hand" he does so right away and feeds himself.

Dave amuses Christopher by wiggling his finger up and down on his own lips, producing a b-b-b-b-b-b sound. Christopher has recently started copying this by putting his own fingers on his lips and making the b-b-b-b-b-b sound. Later, I realized he was cheating when I saw air between his hand and mouth. He was moving his whole arm up and down in front of his mouth and SAYING b-b-b-b-b-b.

He continues with his swimming, and shows more enthusiasm and confidence than he has in the past. He's been moved to a class earlier in the day to be with other more experienced babies, and it seems to have done him a lot of good. 11am seems to be his best morning time, while noon is for naps. Until now, swimming has been at noon so Dave could go on his lunch break sometimes. We foresee some early lunches for Dave in the future.

He loves baths, and would probably never get out of the warm water if we didn't make him. We got him some bath toys, which he tries to chase around the tub. Sometimes he wants to put one in his mouth, and he ends up with a shock as his face is suddenly under water. He recovers well, and knows how to spit out water that gets into his mouth against his wishes.

He loves food and eats as much of it as we let him. His eyes are bigger than his stomach some days, so we have to stop him before he gets enough to explode. His diet now includes Weetabix, a little yogurt, cheese, most vegetables, and many fruits. He loves it all. I was hoping this meant that he would be adventurous with food as he grows up, but I've been reading that he might go picky at about 2 years of age and never come back. Cross your fingers for continued adventure!

25 May 2002
Christopher has had a busy week. We started finding him sitting up in his crib/cot in the mornings, and one morning he was even standing up at the end, holding on to the rail. Considering that a week or two ago he couldn't get himself into a sitting position at all (although he could stay there for hours if someone put him there), this is huge progress. He can deliberately crawl to things he wants, and pull himself to a stand on most pieces of furniture.

His standing is getting a lot more consistent, and he has started tucking his bum in so he can actually balance while holding on with only one hand. I predict all-out walking before he hits 9 months, but you never know with a baby like this. He's often working on half a dozen new skills at once, and when one emerges, the others fall back for a few weeks or months.

He's got a sense of humor, which includes some repeating jokes. When I put him into his car seat, I need both hands to fasten him in. He takes advantage of this by grabbing my closer arm with both of his hands and smiling conspiratorially, sometimes giggling. He is also starting to see the humor in Daddy's nose-blowing. He's started adding fun to food time by leaning over to one side and laughing when I copy him, then laughing again when we both lean to the other side.

He's learning how much food he can actually hold in his stomach, and will stop eating when or before he gets there. He still gets upset when feeding stops even if he wanted it to stop, but giving him a small rice cracker or rusk to feed himself at the end will usually smooth out the tears. Transitions are usually the hardest.

In swimming class, he can hold on to the rail at the edge of the pool and support himself there without an adult (other than to get him there). If he slips off into the water, he doesn't cry when he's pulled out again. He just seems to take it all in stride. This week he was far more interested in examining the bolts that hold the rails to the side of the pool than he was in swimming, but each week is different, so I expect the splashing to be his focus again sometime soon.

He tracks the reflection of the sun off of people's watch crystals in a very cat-like manner. He's very attentive, and will quietly observe the world when things are going on, exploring more when he's sure of himself.

He talks a lot, but at the moment it's mostly ba-ba-ba-ba, mmmmmmmm, ma-ma-ma-ma, and MO (when more food is desired). In months gone by, he was saying words like hummus, bloop, bleh, mamboo, etc., but this has all taken a back seat to his physical development.

He's clearly got an imagination because he can frequently be observed playing with toys on his own, making all sorts of sputtering, cooing, and other highly interactive sounds as he waves them around in relation to each other. I can't wait to find out more about the games when he learns to talk.

He's enjoying social time with other babies more than he has in the past, and has had several baby meetings lately. He goes to Under Ones in the next village over on Mondays, and has play dates at various houses with his antenatal group. he's getting too active for Baby Yoga now, preferring crawling around to being posed and stretched. Once he gets solid in his walking skills, we can move to Tumble Tots instead. Swimming will continue for a few more months, at least.

He responds to verbal instructions quite well now. He consistently lifts his arms when I say UP! I'll show him how to do something, and say "Now Christopher do it" and he almost always does. When he gets frustrated and Dave tells him not to give up, he tries again.

He's still only got two teeth, but they're getting longer and he's learning how to use them. He expects (and often gets) little bits of bread now when he sees me having some, and makes more of an effort to chew. In the old days (last week) he just sucked on it. He's got a little more hair, but it's transparent, so you'd never know it unless you actually try to touch it.

Dave is working on some new photos for the baby's website. As always, located at . Check May and March if you're interested.

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© 2001-2002 Susan Van Valkenburg
since 30 September 2002