Friday, March 30, 2012

Nine Months

We are three quarters of the way to your first birthday- unbelievable! Physically you have continued to get bigger and stronger. You keep trying to stand whenever there is something to pull up on, and if we hold your hands you walk to get to your desired location!

Independently, you move all over the place, although you have no one method of getting around since you're not exactly crawling. You finally rolled back to front and now twist and move in all directions. This means that you can re-adjust at night and are sleeping a lot better because of it (but sometimes also a little worse).

You developed a serious affinity to citrus fruit starting with the day you stole the Mexican lime off the table. You are cautiously adventurous with your food but once you have a taste you quickly decide if it is something you love or if it is more deserving of the floor. You love Mexican food but are surprisingly luke warm about avocados.

You have finally developed an interest in books and will sit quietly for a few short minutes while we read to you. You actively help us turn the pages and love books with little cut-outs and pages with different textures to pet. As a matter of fact, books have become a beloved toy, although they don't rank anywhere near the remote controls!

Last month you started exploring objects with your hands and eyes. You took a new object and rolled and twisted it in your hands until you were satisfied that you had figured it out. Only as a final step did you stick it in your mouth. This month you have continued with this and have also expanded to trying to pick apart the object to pieces. At this young age, you have already earned yourself the nickname "Damage".

You continue to improve your communication with us. More and more you are making new sounds such as "grrr", and you learned a great skill- waving to say hi and bye! Your sing-song noises sound like real talking and sometimes I think that I can almost understand what you're saying. You also are quick to let us know when we are not paying attention to you or have taken away something you want to play with by gearing up for your cry.

Watching you explore your surroundings is an engaging activity for us. You are a huge fan of figuring out cause and effect, making noise, and observing your surroundings. You are cautious and calm and the absolute cutest when you're giggling about our latest trick. We love you very much!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birthday Party Fun

Last weekend we went to a birthday party. It was Baby Boy's second party ever and just like the last time, people played "pass the baby" while the party was going on. There was a bouncy house which was VERY scary for Baby Boy. But the piñata was slightly more successful. I think the whole experience was a bit overwhelming for the kiddo. Regardless, he was a good sport and it was a good time for us and for the darling 3 year old birthday girl.

Baby Boy and the birthday girl

Very scary bouncy house

Hitting the huge piñata with a little help from Daddy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zapopan Visit

When Grandpa was here we also did a little bit of touring. Baby Boy had his first visit to Zapopan Centro. It is right outside of Guadalajara and a quick visit. The main attraction is the cathedral in the historic center. It's a pretty important one and even the Pope visited not too long ago! The one thing the plaza is missing is some serious shade; the sun was scorching hot. Nevertheless, Baby Boy was his usual calm and observant self and was happy to accompany us around the historical center.

chillin' in the Ergo in our tiny bit of shade

the cathedral

in the government palace: learning about the mural

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Same Same but Different - Zapopan Centro

In our latest installment of places we've already written about, Little N made his first visit to Zapopan Centro. As before, we checked out the Cathedral, the Government Palace and the Arcos de Zapopan. It was scorching hot and the main plaza is severely lacking in shady spots, but we enjoyed our walk through the historical center and market.

Arcos de Zapopan

Government Palace

mural inside Government Palace

The Cathedral: Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan

Friday, March 23, 2012

Solids So Far: Baby Led Weaning Explained

Just before his six month birthday Baby Boy started eating solids. So far it has gone swimmingly well. As I outlined in the book review for Baby Led Weaning, we have become big fans of this method of weaning. There are probably three main differences that parents need to come to terms with when forgoing the traditional purées for this route:

1) You have to give up that image we all have in our head of spoon feeding our own little Gerber baby. (I think this is actually the hardest part at first!)

2) You have to let go of the expectation that your kid will eat a substantial amount right away. When purée fed babies are eating a full 1 oz, your kid might eat a quarter of a veggie stick, but that's awesome. (I'll get to why soon).

3) You have to trust your kid. By waiting 6 months to start solids, your baby has the physical strength to sit up (which is how adults eat too!). They can also pick up the food and put it in their mouth. Now you can help them develop the skills for eating solids.

I think it all comes down to trusting our little kiddo to figure things out on his own. When we started, I would supervise like a hawk to make sure that Baby Boy wouldn't choke. M has been pretty scared of this and doesn't like to be in charge of meal time. However, generally if Baby Boy has trouble with a piece of food it is usually a piece of fruit skin or something similar. He then gags a little until he can get it unstuck from the roof of his mouth and spit it out. I have only needed to stick my finger in his mouth a few times to help him out, and even this is generally premature. Now he actually closes his mouth tighter if he thinks I'm going in. It is his food after all.

So how did we do it?

For the first month we started with well cooked fruit and veggie sticks. This was pretty straight-forward. The main factor was to cook things well enough so that Baby Boy could mash them with his gums, but not too much otherwise they would fall apart in is hands before making it to his mouth. A little trial and error and I got this down.

Our second month I added some spoon feeding. I pre-load the spoon with oatmeal/soup and then hand it to Baby Boy. He grabs with his hands and puts it in his mouth. At first this was very messy, but now Baby Boy is a pro, and I think that soon he will be ready to start filling his own spoons. One key point is that I try to put the spoon right in the middle, so that Baby Boy can choose which hand he prefers to grab it with.

Our third month, I continued expanding our repertoire with some solid carbs: bread and pasta. Baby Boy loves these and has figured out how to gnaw them to obscurity, even though he has no teeth!

By our fourth month, Baby Boy had started picking up crumbs and small pieces, so I knew that he was ready for puffs. The kid LOVES his puffs and it's amazing how well he handles them.

What about food allergies?

On the continuum of "introduce only one food at a time" (traditional weaning method) to "he can have anything at 6 months" (baby led weaning method), we fall somewhere in the middle. Traditional weaning has you wait a few days before introducing new foods to check for allergic reaction. The reasoning is that if you start solids at 4 months, baby's digestive system is not developed yet. Those that follow baby led weaning to the T, would say that at 6 months baby can have anything because their digestive system IS developed.

To me, these are both extreme. Based on common sense, mostly, I didn't think it was necessary to wait between introducing carrots and zucchini, for example. Both are non-allergenic foods. I did wait a little longer with citrus for example because I saw that when he first ate them at 7 months he got a little red around the mouth; the acid was obviously irritating him. But at 8 months, we tried a piece again and he loved it and had no reaction. Yes, baby's digestive system is a lot MORE developed at 6 months than at 4 months, but it continues to develop afterward too, and there is no reason to rush into every last possible food.

What about drinks?

For a couple of months I offered Baby Boy water in a sippy cup or straw cup with not much success. He would just play with the cup or chew on the straw without actually drinking anything. I finally just gave him his own little open cup and he quickly figured out how to pick it up with both hands and slurp up the water!

At this point Baby Boy still nurses about 5 times a day (and often once more in the middle of the night). After his solids meal, he will have a few sips of water, but nothing substantial yet.

Why do we love it?

1) Baby Boy has learned to eat food the way adults eat from the beginning. This means: picking up food, putting in mouth, biting off a manageable piece, chewing it, and finally swallowing. It is really remarkable to see him develop these skills at such a young age!

2) Going out to eat is SO SO EASY with Baby Boy. I can always find something on our plates to give him. I do try to make sure that what he gets is healthier though, so I might remove the batter from my fried fish before giving him some.

3) It's a lot less work for me. I do not have to make special food for him and I do not have to deal with washing a blender all the time! While I do adapt some of our foods for him, usually I will just leave a portion out of whatever I am making for us before adding a no-no ingredient (such as nuts).

4) We can eat together, at the same time. Because Baby Boy is handling the food himself, I just need to manage the meal by re-filling his tray and keeping an eye on him. My hands are, mostly, available to eat my own food and that's pretty nice.

And that concludes our solids manifesto. Kudos if you made it all the way through! Questions?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grandpa's Visit

Grandpa came to town to visit Baby Boy (and us) and we had a grand ol' time. We played outside, at the park, went out to eat, saw M's soccer game together, did a little bit of touring, but mostly went about our normal routine. I think Baby Boy is now in attention- withdrawl.

Monday, March 19, 2012

San Miguel de Allende - Tips


Tourist Information- located in the main plaza directly opposite the church

San Miguel de Allende with a Baby- You will need a baby carrier for the cobblestone streets, otherwise the town is very accommodating for children.

Highlights- Of the landmarks in town we most enjoyed La Parroquia, Casa de Allende Museum, Instituto Allende, and Paseo El Charco (you must be fit to walk up to see the view, otherwise take a tour trolley or taxi). We would also recommend devoting several hours to the Jardin Botánico El Charco right outside of town.

Rincon de Don Tomas- good standard Mexican breakfast, located on the main plaza.

El Correo Restaurant- fabulous breakfast in a nice location, located on El Correo 23.

Cafeteria at Jardin Botánico El Charco- the best meal we had in San Miguel, they make their own fresh baked bread for the sandwiches.

Hotel Suites Dali- a new hotel located in the central part of town. It was very clean, had wifi and cable television. The rooms are basic but if you don't need "charm" this is a great value in the expensive town of San Miguel. 500 MXN/standard room.
Homobono 23 "A", Zona Centro, C.P. 37700, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Tel/ Fax: 01152 (415) 154 5637

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At the Pool

It is hot here! So last Saturday we finally took advantage of our JCC membership and took Baby Boy to the pool. True summer baby that he is, he loved it! At first he was a bit unsure about this ginormous bath (and we are quite certain he doesn't remember his first time at the pool) but quickly he got the hang of it. I see lots of pool time in our near future!

Friday, March 16, 2012

San Miguel de Allende - Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

We began our last day in San Miguel with a wonderful breakfast. All in all, the culinary scene in San Miguel is nothing special. Just about every place is ok and adequate for gringo standards, but we didn't hear of anything that was extraordinary. So we were pleasantly surprised to happen upon some great food.

at breakfast

Full of energy, we devoted a little time to shopping for handicrafts. We checked out a few of the more refined shops and then headed to the Mercado Artisanal. True to it's name, there were lots of options. After surveying our options and making a few purchases, it was time to pack up our things and start heading out of town.

Our last stop in San Miguel proper was at the Instituto Allende, a fine arts school. We took a look around the adorned building and admired the view of the downtown from it's outdoor balcony. And we started clunking down the road for our final destination of the day.

inside the Instituto Allende

one last view back towards town

Just outside of town is the fabulous Jardin Botánico El Charco. It is actually a pretty big park with walking trails around a small lake and canyon, areas with endangered plants of Mexico, and a cute little restaurant. We could have spent several hours exploring the different cacti and viewpoints, but alas we needed to have a quick (and delicious) lunch and head back to Guadalajara.

El Charco

meditation corner

back from our walk in the heat

lunch and time to go home

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Purim 2012

Purim ended up on a weekday for us, and so our celebrations were limited but still of note. Baby Boy and I started the morning by watching a youtube video of Purim songs. He loved that I was letting him stare at the computer (since this never happens) and sat quietly through the whole medley. Meanwhile, M got a special mishloah manot in his bag for the hospital.

When M got home in the afternoon, we got Baby Boy dressed up in his costume as king. Seeing as he is king of this household much of the time, it seemed appropriate (and also an easy to whip up costume). He took to it right away.

In the evening M and I had a glass of wine with some hamentashen and called it a day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

San Miguel de Allende - Part 2

Part 1

Our first full day in San Miguel started with an early morning stroll through Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, a typical produce market. We enjoyed the empty streets as we got an overview of the historical center and ended up in El Jardín, the central plaza. We had a nice breakfast on the plaza and then armed with a tourist map, set off to explore the town, starting with the main cathedral La Parroquia.

the mercado

in the main plaza garden

La Parroquia

Our second stop was the Casa de Allende which houses the Museo Histórico de San Miguel de Allende. The first floor explained the history of the town, from a town in the silver mining region to an important stop in Mexico's revolution. The second story had replicated rooms of Ignacio Allende's home, one of the fathers of the revolution and eponym of the town that was originally called San Miguel el Grande. From there we zig-zaged through the streets seeing multiple churches and landmarks of various importance.

Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

Plaza Civica

Templo de San Francisco

We had a mid-morning snack of some over-rated churros in front of the Jardin de San Francisco, and then started making our way down the hill towards the Paseo El Chorro, a climb up a hill past the Casa Cultural to see a view of the downtown area.

typical street in the historic downtown

view of the historic downtown

Our last stop of the day was in Parque Juarez, the municipal park full of families on this warm Saturday afternoon. We ended the day with a late lunch/early dinner and retired to the hotel, where Little N retired after a long day and D & M enjoyed the outdoor courtyard and chilly evening breeze.

cooling off at the park

Parque Juarez

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

San Miguel de Allende (with a baby)

A couple weeks ago we took a trip to San Miguel de Allende. The car ride was fine- about 5 hours including one long stop for a feeding/diaper change/play time. We ended up leaving a lot later than planned and got in town late but Baby Boy was happy to accompany us on a late dinner.

in the Ergo carrier, all weekend long

The following morning we walked the town, touring the landmarks, with Baby Boy in the Ergo Carrier. The kid was a trooper, and even though it got a little hot for him on M's back, he didn't complain and let us see the sights almost at our old (childless) pace. I should note, that the cobblestone streets meant that we didn't even take the stroller out of the trunk the whole weekend; it just wasn't practical.

at El Jardin, the main plaza

We saw the usual sites: the cathedral, the plaza, the museum. M was happy to have a "buffer" at the museum so that he could just sit around and not feel guilty, and I was happy to be able to read through the descriptions, so it all worked out. We climbed up a pathway to see the viewpoint, enjoyed the local park that was less than optimally shaded, and loved the botanical garden outside town.

appetizer of puffs until the food came

The gringo retirees that lived there loved to "chat" with Baby Boy, and I was pleasantly surprised that all the restaurants we went to had high chairs for him, which meant we could enjoy our meals. He got to try frijoles and rice and bread along with some fresh veggies and it was a big success.

upscale Mexican food, yum!

Our only mis-managed aspect was that the hotel didn't have a bathtub. One night he showered with me, and that was a slippery mess. The second night we bathed the kiddo in the sink and he made sure that all the water ended up on the floor. Oh well. Luckily he slept ok in the pack 'n play, and was able to make up some of his missed sleep hours on the drive back to Guadalajara.

at El Chorro botanical garden with lots of cacti

All in all, I would definitely recommend San Miguel as a child friendly tourist town. (Although if your baby is too heavy to carry, but not quite old enough to walk independently, it might be a bit more difficult).