Monday, May 12, 2008

8 months old with a mind of his own!

Jack Jack is getting to be a big boy and enjoys exploring and playing alone more and more. He's gotten markedly more mobile in the last couple of weeks, rotating 360 degrees in the sitting position, traversing the floor in pursuit of a toy by pulling with his legs in the sitting position as well. When he nears the toy he wants, he will lean onto his hands (over his knees) to reach it, but then quickly sits back on his rear to inevitably bite the thing.

Speaking of biting, he is working on his top two teeth. The gums have been swollen for a couple weeks now and the other day I thought I saw his top right one poking through the gums. It's hard to confirm because when you try to pry, the boy purses his lips tightly and won't allow a gander. Nevertheless, from the occasional finger bite and quick glance I think it's safe to conclude that the teeth are coming in.

Last week was pretty rough for the little one. Jack started the week with a low fever, which I attributed to his teething. Monday and Tuesday he just wasn't his usual cheery , babbling self and his sleep (and ours) was severely disturbed. I held him by my side all night long (our usual arrangement) and noticed that his breathing was labored. He was working way too hard to breathe. By Wednesday with no improvement, I decided I needed to take him in to be checked out by a professional. I'd noticed a wheezy sound that bothered me. The doctor said she heard something in his lungs and ordered a chest x-ray. It was sad to watch Jackie get his x-rays. The contraption was medieval-looking, and certainly uncomfortable for the boy: sitting on a bicycle seat-like thing, held in a clear plastic tube with a cut out for the face, clasped closed to hold his arms straight up. The good news was that the results were conclusive and treatable-- Jack had pneumonia in both lungs and was prescribed an antibiotic. Although I hate to hear that antibiotics are necessary, there is an element of relief when I do-- at least I know that a couple days from now, the kid will be much better. When it's "just a virus", we're looking at another week or more of a sick kid. He's slowly improving.

On a happier note, Jack loves music. I put on the "Latin Playground" Putumayo CD yesterday (a gift for the girl from Raquel) and when each new song would start, Jack would begin bouncing to the beat and dancing-- very aware of the new tune and enjoying each one. He also really likes and responds to my singing. It can make otherwise uncomfortable situations (like diaper changes) more bearable.

Little Jack is a talker and a singer. He likes to draw out vowel sounds in sing-songy ways, muffle his voice with his hand to create different rhythms, and experiment with new consonants all the time. The newest sounds to emerge are the g and k sounds, but his favorite fake-words have lots of y's in them.

Jack is enjoying books more and more too. He wants to touch each page and is learning to turn pages and open and close books. He has a couple soft cloth books, one of which is about farm animals (why is it that all kids love farm animals?) and he really likes playing with the many textures. When I read a couple pages, one animal on each side of the page, I can ask him to touch one or the other and he'll accurately do so. It's fun to begin these little tests and start to see that his receptive language is definitely there. As they say, he understands much more than he can speak. Another favorite book is "Peekaboo kisses", where different animals say peekaboo and readers are urged to kiss them. Jack began kissing them about a week ago, leaning in with an open mouth and giving each his little baby love. We'll work on transferring that skill to actual people ASAP because I can't wait for the day when I get an actual kiss from Jack, not just stolen ones!

I woke up this morning with an immobile neck and I know it's from holding the extra-needy Jack so so much, even while pulling weeds and gardening all day Saturday. My lovey husband saw that I was in no shape to be solo with the kids today, so he called in sick to help me out. As I type, he is sitting with Harper on his lap, singing different songs to the kids from the "Children's Song Treasury" book. Jack scooted up to them and sings and bounces along to the songs. He's enjoying their company and the songs, but occasionally looks over at me plaintively and says "Mama, Mama..." and does his closed-mouth mmm sound to register complaint or frustration.

This morning E and I decided to test out Jack's mobility to see if his movement was really purposeful. We see him in different places (hey, he was three feet over this way five minutes ago!) but it's been tough to confirm how much intention was involved. We set up the cell phone and pacifier to motivate him and he did make his way to them, several feet away. He scooted on his bottom, pulled forward by his feet to the toys.

One thing we've noticed with Jackie is worth noting, though. He's more motivated by his own ideas and desires than the urging of others. He's a self-motivated dude, not easily impressed with our ideas. It's not very convenient for getting any kind of routine established or getting him to nurse when my boobs say he must be hungry. No matter how often I offer ninny milk or how long it's been since he last ate, the boy won't take it until he decides he's ready for it. He has a mind of his own and feels very confident making his own decisions. It's admirable and interesting for such a young guy to be so in control of himself. I hope that we surround him with good options and experiences so that he will always choose well for himself.

He's more and more fun daily. Harper says he's a fuzzy, cute, and funny boy.

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