Sweet Matthew. I cannot believe you are 7 months old already!
You are growing too quickly for my liking. You are one of the cutest babies I've ever laid my eyes on. For sure! I don't think your cheeks can get any bigger. They are one of the things I love the most about you. I love, love, love to kiss them, which I must do about 100 times a day. My lips get lost in them when I love on you. Sweet love!
Last week when we took Emma Grace to the doctor, I put you on the scale. I made sure you had on a dry diaper and light weight clothes. The scale said you weighed 18 lbs, 6 oz! WOW! You have the sweetest rolls on your legs, chubby fingers and feet and a big pot belly. You are simply delicious! You are definitely getting longer because your onesies are getting too tight to button at the diaper. We made the jump to size 3 diapers, and you're mostly wearing 6-9 month clothes.
You are mainly still eating mommy milk. Some days you don't get any formula; others 2-6 oz. You are eating one meal of solids a day, mainly because that's all I can fit in with your sleep schedule. (More on that in a minute.) I don't give you much rice cereal because it really constipates you. You have one frozen cube of avocado and sweet potato in the evening when we eat dinner. Squash is next on the list for you to try. You still drink 6 1/2 oz of milk every three hours with a little deviation for your last two feedings. I forgot what a challenge it was to introduce solids into the daily schedule. I'm looking to get you a sippy cup soon so you can start practicing.
You are working super hard on your motor skills and development. You have improved even more with your right arm/hand. You move it almost equally as much as your left. You are spontaneously reaching with it to grab toys, and you are able to bring them to your mouth. I checked on you the other day at nap time and caught you holding your paci in both hands over your head talking to it...too cute! You are also learning to transfer an object from one hand to the other (usually from right to left).
You can now reach your toes by yourself on the right side. That leg isn't as flexible as your left, so you don't get it up as far, but baby steps are proving very successful for you. It wasn't long ago that you could only touch your knee on the right side, so you've come a long way baby!
You have such a desire to sit up, but your muscles just aren't strong enough yet. Because the cerebral palsy affects your right side, you tend to lean to the left. We are working hard on helping to activate your muscles on the right and keep you sitting straight when you do. We lean you to the left and wave toys on your right to get you to move toward them. We also prop you on your right elbow for a few seconds to try to build some strength in your neck and shoulder.
Each time you finish a bottle, you waste no time using your core muscles to try to sit yourself up. I had to put you in the bouncy seat the other day while I was in the kitchen. I looked down and you were working HARD to get out of that seat!!! Too cute!
I really have a hard time knowing what to do with you for play and stimulation. You and I spend a lot of time together on the floor or you in my lap. You love your exercauser, but you're not supposed to be in it much because you can't sit on your own yet. It has the potential to encourage your poor posture which we don't want. You love to be on your back under the activity gym or just on your back with toys to the side of you. But the back of your head is just a little flat, and I'm trying to keep you off of it as much as I can.
You want to turn over, but you don't want to do the work needed to accomplish that. You are SO resistant to being on your left side at all! Your physical therapist said that is because if you want to play, you have to use your right arm and those muscles on that side, and it's much harder for you. I make you do it, but you are one strong little bear! You give me a good fight for sure! Even the therapist said you were one of the strongest she has ever had. You tolerate your left side better, but it's not your favorite either.
Tummy time has gotten better, especially since a special someone bought you one of those bees off eBay! (Thank you so much! He loves it!)
They really stress this for you, and you are able to tolerate it longer than before, especially if I time it right. I hate it, though, because you only stay awake for a short time and you usually spit up a lot on your tummy. Oh well. You are finally able to push up for a short time on your hands and you even wiggle your legs like you're trying to crawl. This week, the therapist showed me how to try to get your right hand open when you're pushing up.
You have to be the best sleeper in the world. Seriously! I try to rock you for a few minutes to snuggle with you, but when you're tired, you just want to be in your bed. I give you your lovey lamb and paci, kiss you and tell you, "Night, night, I love you". And I walk out. You "talk" to yourself for a few minutes, and go to sleep. But as of right now, you don't cry. The only time you cry is when you're overtired and have lost your paci. Sometimes at bedtime, you will fall asleep with your bottle or on my shoulder while I'm burping you. I treasure those moments when you're asleep and snuggled in my arms. Truth be told, I could sit there and hold you all night! Well, maybe half the night 'cuz I love my bed, too!
I've actually been keeping a sleep journal for you because I think you sleep too much. Yep, too much! You go to bed anywhere from 6:30 - 8:00pm. I know that's a big range, but it all depends on if you get your late afternoon nap. If not, you're in bed very early. If so, you're up till about 8pm. You wake up from 6:00 - 7:00am. I usually have to wake you up on school mornings to feed you before we take Emma Grace to school, but I let you sleep as long as you can on the weekends. :) Once you're up, you only stay awake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours at a time and you're ready to go back to sleep. Sometimes you just need a little catnap, but most of the time you will sleep for at least an hour, sometimes two. I mentioned this to Dr. E and he didn't seem too concerned. He said the fact that you are happy and seem fine when you're awake is "worth its weight in gold". He mentioned that your brain could be repairing those neurons/cells that were damaged from your brain bleed and porencephaly, and your brain can't do that when you're awake. I think you're doing lots of growing, too!
You have found a crazy way to soothe yourself to sleep. It's very hard to describe, but basically you shake your head back and forth, from midline to the side, rubbing the back of your head on the bed. (I'm convinced you're going to have a permanent bald spot on the back of your head!) I first noticed it when you were sleeping with me when you had RSV. It concerned me at first because I thought you were having a seizure. You also do it sometimes when Jessica and Emma Grace talk to you in your highchair. And you have a huge grin on your face the whole time!
You are learning your name and will turn to me when I say it. You have also become very interested in our dog, Buddy. You love to watch him, and just the other night, you broke into a full-on grin just looking at him while he was sitting next to you. After dinner one night, you grabbed a handful of the fur on his head. You loved it, but he didn't think it was so great. In typical Buddy fashion, he tolerated it until I could get your hand free.
You have learned to blow air out of your mouth without producing bubbles. You love to "talk". You do great riding in the car (you only cry when you're overtired). You love to play on your back. You like to put your blanket/burp cloth/bib/lovey over your face to play peek-a-boo. But you don't know how to get it back off, so you end up getting frustrated. You still love to just lay in your crib and watch your mobile. We occasionally lift you up so you can see it up close and personal.
Your sisters absolutely adore you. Emma Grace has a hard time holding you because you are so big and squirmy. Jessica can hold you for a bit longer but not by much! You love to just watch them and you smile at them all the time!
You have stolen our hearts, precious boy! We are SO proud of you and SO thankful that you are part of our family!
We love you more than words can say!
Hugs and kisses,