It’s been 8 months since we met our boy, Andon.
I’ve learned some things along the way and life has definitely changed for us.
I’m sure everybody’s kids are different and do their own thing, but we’ve found that raising a boy has been quite different from our experience of raising two girls before that.
He definitely does things differently. Our girls would try to get your attention and have these little shrieks and then hope you’d show up. Andon has some bass (well, tenor) in his voice already, and he is not afraid to use it. As a matter of fact, the volume just continues to go up, the longer you leave him unattended. In contrast, Amalie is 3 years old, and her voice is squeakier than his is. I’m hoping he’ll sound like Elvis when he grows up. Without the peanut butter, bacon and banada sandwiches.
Speaking of food, he recently started eating food food. He has been enjoying his time with baby food, but seriously, how much can a person enjoy oat cereal or pureed “carrot, beef and spaghetti stew”? The only nice thing about those foods is that it looks (and smells) pretty much the exact same on the way out. He’ll eat it without complaining, but the look of disdain on his face makes me believe I will be paying for that some day. Like when I’m 85 and it’s his turn to feed me. He’ll probably remind me of these days with some horrifying blended mixture that he’ll send my way through a straw.
As for the food food, like the real stuff, we are giving him an opportunity to try some of the stuff we’re eating as we build up his digestive system. And he definitely prefers it. As a matter of fact, he’ll often figure out how he feels about it, making the funniest of faces while getting used to a taste, and then he’ll HULK SMASH his high-chair table to advise everyone that he’d be interested in some more. Click here to check out this video of his first rhubarb pie encounter.
The other nice thing about his diet changing is the change in consistency, smell and colour of what’s going on in the diaper. I’m not sure how, but it also seems that boys have more “pushing” power, because he has the ability to send the goodness OUT of his diapers on a regular basis, down his legs and up his back – to the point where he’ll need to be hosed off outside to make him presentable again. Not sure if our girls ever managed to do that. Anyway, it’s pretty gross, and the weirder the food we’re feeding him, the more likely that we’ll be playing rock, paper, scissors in a few hours when it comes time to change the biohazard diaper. And I now have my pressure washer on stand-by.
A recent development in his habits has also been noted during the diaper change sessions, and that is Andon’s absolute requirement to grab his wiener and hang on for dear life. I mean, there is no way that could be comfortable, and speaking for all men here, I’d have to say it looks downright painful and “stretchy”. But he insists and accompanies it with a huge grin, so who am I to stop the man? I figure we’ll let him get that out of his system now. Better when he’s 8 months old than when he’s 18 years old, right?
A real trend toward the diaper changing notes here, but one last update – in my 3-month update on raising our son, I advised everyone to change a boy’s diaper with their mouth closed. I can truthfully say that I only experienced the “fire hose” thing a couple of times, but that was it. I was afraid we’d need to put plastic everywhere around his change table and invest in a bulk buying of those PeePee-TeePees, but I’m pleased to announce he seems to have realized that peeing on everything doesn’t do anybody any good.
Andon, at least when he was born and shortly thereafter, looked exactly like me. If you converted his baby pictures to black and white, and put them beside my baby pictures, you couldn’t tell them apart. Just like our other two, he has slowly started becoming his own little person and looking less like just one of his parents. People always have these weird comments, like “Oh, I can definitely see Aimie’s grampa’s chin on him” or whatever. Seriously, people? C’mon now. I always think that’s reaching a bit. What’s next? “If you look closely, you’ll clearly see his second cousin’s (once removed) eyelashes, but just on the left side – yep, there’ s no doubt about it!” Because I’m not that kind of detail person, the big-picture guy in me says he looks mostly like me, and is starting to look somewhat like his mama. Which is something to be very, very grateful for. I’d feel really bad for this kid if he ends up looking like his dad.
As summer started, we tried to use one of the 3 nice days we had in July to get outside. We were at the cabin the first time Andon met his adversary, grass. Turns out he hates grass. We sat him down on it, and he immediately went into butt-straight-up-in-the-air mode, and tried to take as many of his hands and feet as possible off the grass. Hilarious for us to watch, and seemingly distressing for him. As we sat around and laughed heartily at his misfortune, I realized that this is just one more thing he’s chalking up to get revenge for on us later.
Because he has two older sisters, he hasn’t waited around to get mobile. Andon was officially crawling at 5 months old, and started going up stairs at 6 months old. Because we have hardwood stairs, this is a really great weight-loss program for me, because I’m constantly stressed, on edge and running to grab him away from the stairs. We’ve had a few baby spills along the way with his sisters, and the hardwood stairs and a baby don’t get along well. Strangely, he didn’t really sit up by himself until about 6 months old, well after he started crawling.
He started pulling himself up on things about a month ago, and he’ll stand somewhere for about 5 minutes, just looking around in panic. As long as he’s got a good grip on something like a couch cushion or his crib rails, he can stand for a long time, but he hasn’t started walking along things yet. I’m guessing it won’t be long.
Andon’s smile, and his propensity to produce it at any time, is truly amazing. He will show it off any time, but especially when you play peek-a-boo with him. Even more so if it’s his sisters. They are so ridiculous around him, I often wonder if he isn’t smiling in pity at how crazy they are, rather than at what they’re doing. Interestingly, we still haven’t seen or heard a true belly laugh. We’ve wondered if this isn’t a developmental delay and if we should be worried about it. If you tickle him, he’ll kind of scrunch up and gurgle, and sometimes you do get a little single shriek-laugh, but not the extended belly laughs we were used to with our girls. I’m hoping the real laughs show up sooner than later.
Speaking of siblings, his sisters have been truly amazing with him. Because of the horrifying interaction we witnessed between our first-born and her little one-week old sister, we were worried about what might happen with another new addition. Both girls have been absolutely exemplary, and are just incredible big sisters. They love the little guy to bits, and will give him tons of attention any time they’re able to. It’s not a one-sided affair either, because he reacts to them like to nobody else – his face lights up as though it might crack in half, and he can’t wait to see them. His favorite activity so far? Passing the ball back and forth outside – he’ll do it as long as he’s able.
Another thing he’s got to put up with is the girls taking his picture with our iPhones. They use the funny camera filters to make him look hilarious and they laugh and laugh and laugh. He’ll look at them with genuine concern on his face, as though he’s evaluating their mental capacity. That’s all fine and good, because I catch myself evaluating my kids’ mental capacity from time to time as well.
Andon used to be a real snuggler, and he’d be a really calm little person to hold. Those days are now over. He will not, for love or money, be still. If you try to hold him while you’re sitting down, he’s like a huge fish that won’t stop flopping and he’ll alternate from wriggling non-stop to making himself completely stiff, doing the best human hot-dog impression I’ve ever seen. I miss the days where he’d just snuggle in and put his head on my shoulder.
I won’t get much sympathy from other parents on this one, but Andon has, without a single exception, slept through the night since he was 8 weeks old. I told the story in my 3-month update, and nothing has changed. I am so grateful for this, but I’ll shut up about it now.
His eye color still hasn’t sorted itself out – it’s migrated to a light brown, and might be leaning toward hazel, like his sister Amalie’s eyes. My mom has lovely hazel eyes, so maybe he’s going to be like Oma. His hair is starting to grow in. It’s not long enough to style, which distresses his mom terribly, but it IS long enough to make him look like an out-of-control Chia pet in a static electricity experiment on most days, because it’s kind of stand-uppy and all over the place. I’m certain his mom will be putting in hair product before we know it.
It doesn’t matter what horrible things you experienced, heard or saw on any given day – when you see your baby smiling at you, it will wash away all the pain, worry and doubt you might have and will give you faith in the milk of human kindness. I honestly believe we are blessed with children as a mental health AID. Sure they stress us out sometimes, and sure they are a lot to put up with at other times, but overall, the positive impact that these little people can have on our lives, our souls and our spirit is truly immeasurable. Each of our three children has an amazing gift to make their mom and me smile at any given moment. And for that we are exceptionally thankful.
I’m so grateful for this little dude, I love him like crazy, I love that he’s dovetailed into our family so perfectly and I’ve had a blast getting to know him for the last 8 months. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of adventure with him and his sisters.
Most importantly, I can’t wait to see what kind of man he turns into.
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