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We’ll start with the good stuff…

My sweet boy is 4 months old.  He is huge (maybe a little too huge, ha) and he’s learning new things every day.  He has rolled over once…on the day of the Iron Bowl – rolled over in order to get a better view of GameDay on the TV – I swear!!!  He is now grabbing at toys when you put them in front of him, and he’s WAY more awake and alert these days.  Before recently he could only stand about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1.5 hours of awake time before he would have to go back down.  Now he’s handling 2 hours in the morning and about and hour and 40 minutes the rest of the day.  It doesn’t seem like much but we are definitely enjoying the extra playtime with him!  He’s wearing 6 month clothes.  He pretty much skipped right over all of his cute 3 month stuff which makes me sad.  

He giggles and coos and squeals all day long and it’s precious. He absolutely LOVES his bath and I’m convinced he wouldn’t go to bed without it…we haven’t tried though.  He puts his hands in his mouth constantly and recently started finding his left thumb and sucking it.  He still hates tummy time but we’ve been doing as much as we can these days to help him work on rolling over.  He grunts and complains about it though.  We’ve also discovered that Ritter is incredibly hot natured.  We have to keep his room super cool or he doesn’t sleep well.  He’s still unswaddled at night and just sleeps in PJs and a zip-up sleep sack – but we have to keep his room at like 65 degrees or he’s burning up when we get him up.  During the day he’s swaddled for naps which means he gets hotter even easier so we have to turn on the fan and close his vent so it doesn’t get hot in there.  It’s so odd.  I’ll be so glad when we are done with the damn swaddle.  Another new thing …when he is ready to go down he just wants you to put him down so he can go to sleep.  Even if I try to cuddle and rock him he squirms and grunts and just isn’t having it.  Kinda makes me sad.  He’s so big now…I miss those newborn cuddles.

We also started eating rice cereal with a spoon after our 4 month checkup.  Doc said he was big enough that he needed to start practicing with the spoon so he’ll be ready for solids at 6 months.  We only do about 3 tablespoons of cereal a day but he’s really gotten the hang of it.  It’s adorable to watch him open his mouth when he sees the spoon coming!

Now for the not so fun stuff…

So at about 12 weeks Ritter had a few off days that turned into a full “off” week and I kinda freaked out.  He wasn’t eating, he was fussier, spitting up more, and having lots of other weird “off” kinds of things.  I was convinced that either he was teething or had an ear infection so I took him to the doctor.  Absolutely nothing was wrong.  Then I got home and a friend mentioned “I think they go through a Wonder Week at 12 weeks.”  So I sure did google it and, I’ll be damned, Ritter was going through a Wonder Week.  Wonder Weeks are periods of rapid mental development (or mental growth spurts) that babies go through at predictable times within the first year of life.  With each spurt comes a new set of skills or way of perceiving the world around them.  The book about the wonder weeks explains what symptoms come with each “mental leap” and how to help your baby through it.  So I got a copy and read about the 12 week leap and it was describing EXACTLY what Ritter was going through…down to the finest detail.  I couldn’t believe it.  It made me feel so much better knowing there was a reason for everything.  And within about a week it was over and the next week he started taking more at each feeding, sleeping through the night, etc.  Whew…sigh of relief…or so I thought.

Then we hit the next Wonder Week (or ‘mental leap 4′ as the book calls it).  They say the leap “completes” around 19 to 22 weeks but you can start seeing signs as early as 15 weeks.  This one lasts longer and is commonly referred to as the fussiest, worst one.  At exactly 15 weeks and 1 day Ritter went from napping AWESOME in the mornings to not napping at ALL.  For like 30 minutes and then was up.  Then he was getting overtired and super fussy later in the day.  At first only naps were affected.  I tweaked the schedule and found what works for him and got the nap issues sorted out.  Then he started waking earlier in the mornings.  He had been consistently sleeping from 7:30 PM to 6:30 am…now he was waking anywhere from 4-5 am.  I referenced the book and it said all of this was part of the “fussy phase” of the beginning of this leap so I decided to just push through and hope it got better.  It didn’t.  It got worse.  Now we are waking up at 3am and he HAS to eat.  So we went from no middle of the night feedings and sleeping for 11 hours to waking up and eating in the middle of the night again.  Of course, this is all predicted in the book but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.  The book says that there’s a physical growth spurt that coincides with this leap so they often have to go back to a middle of the night feeding.  I ain’t gon’ lie…I’m feeling pretty defeated these days.  I’ve read that some babies get through this and sleeping goes back to normal…but some keep that MOTN feeding for a while.  It sucks.  I’ve put so much effort into getting him on a good schedule and now everything is all off.  In addition, him being fussier and crankier makes me not want to go anywhere and do anything …which is hard for me because I’m such an extrovert and need to get out and interact.  We were supposed to go visit friends in ATL for Iron Bowl but cancelled that trip because I wasn’t about to have Ritter waking up all through the night and waking their kids up and all that.  Plus I can just see Eric stumbling through some foreign kitchen trying to make a bottle at 4am.  So we watched the game at a friend’s house here in town and Ritter actually did pretty good.  He napped well there and only got fussy once when someone screamed during the game and startled him.  But again last night we were up twice and had to feed him at 3:30 am.  I am ready for this thing to be OVER.

What sucks even more is some people say their kid never goes through this.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got tons of friends who went through it, but lots don’t and I don’t understand that.  Why are some kids so affected by it and others aren’t???  If you’re reading this and your kid went though the 4 Month Sleep Regression and you have any tips for getting through it, please comment!

Anyhoo…despite all the frustrations with the sleep issues…he is still just absolute pure joy and I cherish every minute I spend with him.  I am loving him being more alert and playful.  Watching him learn to grab things has been so fun.  He used to stare so intently thinking about it, and it’s like he’s figured out how to make his hand do what he wants it to do… and he’s so excited about it!  I’m so excited about the holidays coming up too.  Even though he doesn’t get any of it yet, it’s like Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.  I can’t wait to start holiday traditions with him…I think about us cooking together and watching Christmas movies and decorating the tree every year…I can’t wait!!!  Everyone says that every phase they go through is just better and better it just gets more and more fun!  I’m so ready!

Things we can’t live without…

1)  this memory foam play rug from Aquatopia.  Now that Ritter is more active he wants to be down on the floor playing a lot instead of being held or sitting in the bouncy.  We put him down on this and put toys all around him and he squeals and kicks.  It’s thick and soft which is great since we put it down on the hardwood floor.  And it rolls up and fits under the coffee table for storage!

2)  Onesies.  It seems obvious huh?!? We had a onesie game at my shower and I ended up with like 60 onesies – no lie.  I was like – “what am I going to do with all of these onesies?  He’ll never wear them all!!”  Well…THANK GOD for the onesie game!!!  We got an assortment of them in all sizes and they’ve been lifesavers.  He has grown so fast and I never have time to go shopping for baby clothes so it’s been nice to have onesies in all sizes readily available.  Plus he stays so hot all the time that we can’t keep him in pjs or anything like that.  All the little outfits are cute and all, but when you’re around the house most of the time you’re not really going to put baby in overalls or cute little sweaters.  The onesie is the way to go! We really like the ones by Carter because they seem to be the softest and stretchiest.

3)  Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle – these have been awesome as we’ve transitioned out of the swaddle with the Miracle Blanket.  These are great because it’s basically a zip up blanket that converts to a swaddle.  We use this all the time now because Ritter sleeps with his arms out (unswaddled) at night and with his arms in (swaddled) during the day.  It’s safer than having loose blankets in the crib because they are a suffocation risk.  Also, it’s better than a regular swaddle when they get older because it only wraps around the arms and doesn’t put pressure on the hips.  One of the reasons the AAP recommends stopping swaddling at 3 months is because of the risk of hip dysplasia.  Plus these come in lightweight cotton or heavier fleece.

4)  any sort of small infant toy or teether.  Especially things with rings that he can grasp well.  And things that rattle and make noise.

Stats and Pictures:

4months

-I obviously made this photo with the stats before he started waking up for that 3 am feeding again the past couple of nights.  Sigh.

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– First time eating cereal with a spoon – didn’t quite know what to think…
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UPDATE – I originally posted this blog on 12/1.  That very night Ritter slept all the way through from 7:30 to 6:15.  I’m assuming we are on the tail end of this Wonder Week thing (fingers crossed) and we’ll be getting back to normal at night….until teething starts I’m sure!

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