Saturday, September 22, 2012

Four Months Old

The littlest Texas Schleicher is growing up! :) At the ripe old age of 4 months, Ryan is becoming more interactive and more fun by the day! In the past month, Ryan has become so much more aware of and interested in his surroundings. He loves to grab objects and bring them to his mouth to explore. He prefers being held facing out or standing up in someone’s lap so he can see what’s going on around him. He smiles frequently and tucks his head bashfully toward his shoulder when giving his biggest smiles. Ryan’s laughs are coming more often and more easily (mostly while being tickled but also at silly noises and goofy faces). Ryan giggles and giggles when being bounced up and down on someone’s lap or on the “suspension bridge” at our neighborhood playground.  

At his 4-month check-up, Ryan measured 27” (98th percentile) and weighed 17 lb. 8 oz. (93rd percentile). Our big baby is wearing size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes. We are so thankful that he is growing and developing normally and that he’s a pleasant, sweet baby! 

Ryan has seemed to develop a fairly consistent rhythm to his days. He still takes three naps a day (mostly still in his swing and always swaddled tightly). His first two naps longer (1-2 hours), and then he takes a short 30-minute catnap around dinner time. He still gets up twice most nights to nurse but then thankfully goes right back to sleep. During the day, Ryan has decided recently that he only wants to nurse on one side … which means that he wants to eat again only 1.5 to 2 hours later. Like one of Kim’s friends said, Ryan seems to prefer to be “half full.”:) On the positive side, though, we don’t see much spit up since Ryan certainly isn’t overeating and Big Brother Ian only has to entertain himself for about 10 minutes since Ryan is done so quickly. 

It’s bittersweet (though mostly sweet :)) to see Ryan lose some typical newborn traits. Ryan can now easily keep his head steady while being held and lift it high during tummy time. He keeps his hands unclenched and likes putting them together or bringing them to his mouth. He’s drooling like crazy and likes to blow spit bubbles, too.

Ryan can definitely recognize his family members. He saves some of his biggest smiles and heartiest laughs for big brother Ian. He loves when Daddy talks to him. And, he generally prefers to be in Momma’s arms, especially if he’s tired.
This month, Ryan had his first cold. Poor guy! He also got his first haircut. Kim trimmed about an inch from the back of his hair and a half-inch near his ears. There’s still plenty of hair left on his head!

Ryan’s favorites include bath time (including LOTS of kicking and splashing in the water), being held, being “worn” in the Moby Wrap or Baby Bjorn, being outside, grabbing onto Momma’s hair and neck skin :), seeing his reflection in the mirror, his “activity gym,” and his bouncer. He does NOT like loud noises (he startles very easily) or when we try to feed him a bottle.

Big Brother Ian certainly isn’t changing nearly as much as his little brother, but he’s definitely growing. Even friends that see him regularly comment on how tall he’s getting. We haven’t measured him lately, but his pajama pants ARE getting shorter on his legs and he’s getting amazing close to being able to reach high enough to turn light switches off and on by himself. That probably means that we need to get out our winter clothes box and see how many pants we have that will actually fit him once the weather turns colder. Ha!

Many of his favorites continue to be the same … trains, ANYTHING that is “coupled up” (since it reminds him of a train), construction vehicles, water, sand/dirt/mud/rocks, pretend playing, and books. He still frequently asks for stories but wants to dictate all of the events. For example, he’ll ask to hear the story of Princess and the Pea and then, while Momma or Daddy is telling it, interrupt the story every few seconds to add characters (usually himself or Sally, the bad listener) and completely revamp the story line. 

Overall, Ian seems to love being a big brother. When we’re out on walks, Ian likes to “teach” Ryan about everything he sees. Ian likes to make sure Ryan has a toy within reach at all times and loves making Ryan smile and laugh. Of course, there are moments when Ian will be frustrated by Ryan’s crying (or having to share Momma and Daddy’s attention), but the good moments are certainly outweighing the bad. 

In typical three-year-old fashion, Ian alternates between wanting to be completely independent and wanting to still be a baby. He likes knowing about things ahead of time and appreciates routine and consistency. As many kids do, Ian likes to test the limits and try to do things “just one more time” to see what will happen. He certainly knows what our “buttons” are and how to push them. Thankfully, though, he’s still eager to please and (especially when he’s gotten enough sleep) a sweet, predictable, loving little boy.

His vocabulary continues to crack us up. Kim overheard Ian telling Ryan, “Don’t worry. You’re just a little congested,” one day when Ryan had a cold. It’s funny when he knows a phrase but doesn’t quite understand what it means. He’ll say, “That isn’t fair!” even about things that he likes. It’s especially funny when he pulls out random British phrases from the Thomas the Train videos (“stuff and nonsense!”). 

We chose to not send Ian to 3-year-old preschool this year. This gives us a chance to save that tuition money for when we’ll NEED it in the near future. Plus, Kim is just not ready to give Ian up yet! That time will come all too quickly (likely even next year in a two-day-a-week Pre-K). Kim is trying to be more intentional about planning some specific literacy activities into our days a few times a week, though we’re certainly not going overboard (playing is still one of the best ways of learning for now, we think!). Ian IS very interested in letters and numbers, so we’re just trying to follow his cues. He also really looks forward to daily calendar time right after breakfast!

Ian continues to do well going to three-year-old Sunday school by himself. He also has been loving our library’s preschool time (which Momma and Ryan attend with him). In addition to songs and stories, the story time also includes a simple craft project at the end. Ian especially loves projects that include glue or scissors! 

We thank our Lord for a fun month and look forward to seeing what He has in store for us in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ian is Like a Sponge

We have heard it said that three-year-olds are like sponges when it comes to learning new things.  Ian is no exception to this comparison!  Here are a few of his most recent learning experiences.

Ian enjoyed the sponge painting project that Momma designed for him (thanks for the original idea, Ms. Carrie).  He even learned that you can use a real apple that has been cut in half as an apple stamper.

Momma created an elaborate Calendar Time activity board.  Ian has really loved learning about months, days, daily weather changes, patterns, and looking ahead to future dates as he learns from Momma.  Ian asks to have Calendar Time several times each day.  Thanks, Grammy, for your insight and suggestions about the best board to make.

 Ian and Momma sit on special Calendar Time placemats as they learn together.
 Ian has to locate the correct day labels before affixing them to the velcro in the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow area of the board.  Momma is even teaching him a short song so he can memorize the names of the days of the week in order.

 We enjoyed a fun family outing on Labor Day.  There is a caboose and a small splash pad at a park near our home.  Ian and Momma enjoyed examining the coupling mechanism of the caboose.
 Ian loved standing on the railroad ties, and he especially liked brainstorming what might have been stored in the circular tank pictured next to his left shoulder.
 Ian enjoyed covering the most powerful splash pad jet with a small red funnel we had brought from home.  He laughed each time the jet propelled the funnel a few feet into the air.
It is so much fun watching Ian learn as he grows.  We love you, Ian!

The Latest Ryan News

 Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!  Ryan has some recent highlights he would like to share with you.  For starters, Ryan has become quite the tummy time expert when it comes to holding his head up.

He is learning the basics of the game Hide & Seek.   I think we might wait for a few months to break the news to Ryan that he might have more luck hiding behind something larger than a toy train car.

He is becoming more opinionated, especially when big brother invades his personal space one too many times.


Ryan's calming reflex kicks into high gear whenever he is swaddled and sucking on his pacifier, no matter who is the person holding him.

And, the biggest Ryan news......(drum roll please).....

We gave him his first haircut!  These first two pictures show Ryan's extreme "shaggy-ness" whereas the last two pictures show his new and improved look.

We love you, Ryan!