Merry Christmas! Boy, are we behind on posting our pictures. Let’s try to catch up to Thanksgiving at least in this post. The smiles are still flowing freely here in the House of Gjertsen. Valor continues to stay healthy; at 3 mo. he weighed 16 lbs., so 95th percentile for weight. Now, at almost 4 months, he’s at least 17 lbs. He’s growing out of his 9-month clothes already!
I was starting to get concerned because until about two week ago he was still wanting to eat every 2.5 hours during the day, and sleeping only 30-45 minutes for naps. According to BabyWise, he should be taking fewer, longer naps and eating less frequently. I suspected that sometimes he was crying, not because he was really hungry, but because he was bored or something (embarrassing but true, Mommy can be boring after a while). So I discovered by accident one day that if I didn’t go get him immediately when he awoke from a nap and started fussing, he would actually just pop his fingers in his mouth (yay self-soothing! new skill) and fall back asleep. Now he’s napping 1-2 hours 4 times a day, and eating about every 3-4 hours (or 6 times a day). He sleeps about 8-9 hours at night. I’m loving the less frequent feedings. I get a lot more things done.
It seems like Valor does something new every day. He can now find, engage, and keep the thumb in, as of about 3.5 mo. He still takes the paci when going down for a nap. He can reach out and grab more and more, usually most successfully with cloth, but he also likes to grab my fingers and look at them. He enjoys playing by himself more now, including batting at dangling toys and scrunching crackly fabric toys. He can’t sit up yet, but he’s getting closer. Right now he’s propped up sitting in the corner of the couch, sucking his thumb. He has recently added “b” to his list of sounds, as well as a high-pitched squeal of delight. It’s ear-splitting, so thank goodness it’s rare so far.
Thanksgiving weekend we took his first long road trip to Tallahassee. I think we stopped twice for feedings. He did well while he slept, but the longer we drove, the less happy he was. Once we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s, though, he had a blast. Here he is taking a bath in the kitchen sink.
We drove on to my aunt’s house in Fort Walton Beach to introduce Valor to the rest of the family. It may seem funny, but bringing a baby to Thanksgiving is hugely exciting to me. We see the same relatives there every year, and we love to play spades with them, catch up on jobs and relationships, watch football, and go for an annual after-dinner walk, besides all the other Thanksgiving food-related traditions. My cousins have all grown up and have cool careers. My aunts and uncles are nearing retirement. But for various reasons, for a long time now it’s just been grown-ups at Thanksgiving. The “next generation” just hasn’t materialized. We decided to discontinue the so-called “kids table” when all the “kids” were in their 20s.
When James was born, everyone was really excited to meet him and love on him, and then the next Thanksgiving without him was quiet again. So this year, to bring another baby to pass around—it’s hard to describe why, but there’s something about having a baby that feels like giving a gift to the whole family. It makes us happy to bring him, and it makes them happy to meet him. The next youngest person at Thanksgiving was 26, so I guess we were all ready to bring someone new into the family circle and add a little fresh chaos to a predictable group of adults.
My cousin Anne, the 26-year old, made a special welcome sign for the door, like she did for James. Speaking of welcome, we could barely get in the door with everyone clustered tightly around it to see the V-boy. He essentially crowd-surfed his way through the foyer, and never lacked someone willing to hold him.
You’ve probably observed the debut of the Viking helmet. It’s another original by our friend Laura, who has knit Valor to John’s ancestral forebears ever since she learned what we were going to name him. It actually has yarn “rivets” around the headband, but we had to roll it up because it’s still a little big on him, so you can’t see them.
At Thanksgiving we finally took the “bendy bumper” foam horseshoe out of Valor’s crib, since he loved to press his face against it like it was the side of the womb. It made me nervous that he would suffocate (although the foam was too firm to let that happen). As you can see from the photo above, however, he figured out how to move from the center of the crib until he could get his head against the crib bumper. If he can’t feel something against the top or side of his head, he rolls his head back and forth like a pizza cutter. This has resulted in a very funky hairline, like a monk’s fringe with a bald strip around the top of that. The hair on top of his head is growing in slowly (wavy light brown/blonde), but compared to early pics of James, he looks pretty bald.
One last story before I close. I was reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to Valor one day, and we were to the chapter about David and Goliath. I was really working the voices, trying to make it interesting, considering he didn’t know what I was talking about. Goliath approached David with a THUD THUD THUD and says something like, “You??” which I delivered in my scariest giant voice. Valor went from listening quietly to shrieking in terror. I put away the book and cuddled him for five minutes before he calmed down. I don’t know if he could intuit the scary giant from the pictures and voice, or if it was just scary to hear Mommy speaking that way, but I was really surprised at how much he understood, apparently just from my tone of voice. He’s still just a tender little guy, so I guess slaying the giants will have to wait a little longer.