6 Months Home
6 months has absolutely flown by in the blink of an eye. It seems like yesterday that we stepped off that plane and watched our girls hug their baby brother for the first time. In other ways, though, it seems like this little boy has always been with us. He fits so perfectly into our family, and we can’t imagine our lives without him.
He is doing so well. We continue to praise God for smooth transitions. He is our best sleeper, he is our best eater, he is our most consistently happy child...and he can’t talk back to us yet! Plus, he’s just so darn cute and cuddly! Oh, my heart.
We saw a few signs of regression once school started and a new routine emerged. We reined it in as our schedules allowed. We stayed home a little bit more, kept him out of the church nursery when we could, and kept a close eye on him - making sure that we were the only ones to meet his needs. Random people at church LOVED that a cute little toddler would walk up to them holding his arms out for them to pick him up, but that was actually a sign that we had some more attachment and bonding to do with him. Indiscriminate affection and no sense of “stranger danger” are not really things you want to see from children. People might be quick to say, “Oh he’s just outgoing! That’s just his personality!” There may be a little truth to that, as he seems to be a “people person,” but it probably stems from the fact that he had many different caretakers in and out of his first year of life. Being charming probably helped him get a little extra attention from them, and we are thankful for that. But we’re also still trying to teach him that we are his people, we are the ones he can come to when he needs something, and we aren’t going anywhere. He’s doing better - less wandering off, less rocking himself, less slapping, less overeating. We will continue to watch for signs of attachment and trust and do what we need to do to help him along. (We are sorry if we had to miss your party or decline your lunch invitation or miss out on a chance to hang out with you. Thanks for understanding.)
His physical growth has slowed down a bit. I guess you can’t gain a pound every month! Overall, he’s gained 4.5 pounds and grown 4.5 inches in six months. Isn’t that amazing!? He’s sitting at the 5th percentile for weight for his age, and he is not yet on the growth charts for height - although I think we will get there soon!
When he first came home, I mentioned that he struggled with eating solid foods. I’m happy to say that we have made so much progress in that area! He’s biting harder foods- veggie straws, apple chips, crackers, etc. Occasionally, he will need some reminders to bite and chew, but he’s doing great! He’s also become pickier with foods. This is NOT something that I would have ever celebrated with my girls, but for him it is a sign that he trusts us and knows that he will always have food. He doesn’t have to overeat when food is available. He can share his preferences with us, which - in true toddler fashion - seem to change daily. At first, people would ask, “What are his favorite foods?” and we didn’t really know because he would eat anything we put in front of him. Now we know some likes (oranges, avocado, cheese sticks, pancakes, Cheetos) and dislikes (green beans, carrots, baked potatoes).
His vocabulary has really started picking up this past month. He knows several words and a handful of things in baby sign language. Some of my favorite words to hear him say are: cracker (which he uses to name any snack), cheese (when he’s smiling for a photo), ball (which can only be yelled as loud as possible), and yeah (which is his response to every question, even if he’s shaking his head “no.”) He can also mimics several animal noises, but my favorite to hear are “neigh,” “oink,” and “gobble.” Judah can also point to his eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. He can point out yours too, but be careful if you ask him because he might just stab his finger IN your eye, mouth, or nose. (I warned you!)
He definitely knows how to communicate his needs without much language though. Last week, he went to the fridge and started yelling. When I walked over to him, he pointed to the fridge and reached out his arms for me to pick him up. I picked him up, and he pointed to the fridge again. I asked him, “Do you want a snack?” “Yeah” was his response (of course). I opened the fridge and he pointed to a drawer and signed (his version of), “please.” I started pulling things out of the drawer and one by one he shook his head no to almost everything: applesauce, yogurt, cheese stick, baby food pouch. Finally, I picked up some mandarin oranges and he said “yeah.” It was so cute and so SMART! (Yeah, I’m biased.)
He loves his sisters and is typically not far behind them. He attempts to mimic them in actions and words- climbing on things, jumping off things (giving us heart attacks), coloring, playing with toys, and yelling “google!” at our Google Home. He also loves “The Foot Book” by Dr. Sues and asks us to read it 25 times a day. If you’re not familiar with it, not to worry - I have it memorized. Just ask me to recite it.
Eliza still thinks she’s his mom and attempts to take care of his every need. She often calls him, “hunny,” and I have no idea where she got that from, but it’s pretty cute. Hattie and Judah are finally becoming buddies. Sometimes I forget that they are actually closer in age (12 months) than Eliza and Hattie (19 months). They can often be found looking at books together, playing with cars, or giggling. It warms my heart to see it because Hattie had a pretty hard time adjusting once Judah came home. He took her place as the baby, and she didn’t give up that spot without a fight. We just tried to make sure we gave her a little extra attention and let her know how much we love her too. Her behaviors were pretty similar to the ones Eliza exhibited when Hattie was born, but with 3 kids, being outnumbered, “jet lag” that has somehow lasted for 6 months (okay, we know we can’t blame jet lag anymore), and an instant brand new toddler, it seemed much more challenging this time around. We (mostly) feel like we’re finally settling into family of 5 life, though.
Overall, Judah has been healthy and happy. However, a few weeks ago, Judah scared me in the middle of the night. Marcus had just left that evening for an 8 day trip overseas. Judah wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t sleep, so I put him in bed with me. At 3:30 am, I awoke to him seizing and was instantly transported back to India. The seizure stopped on its own after about 1.5 minutes, so it seemed mild in comparison to last time - but I was still in full panic mode as I held him on his side for 1.5 minutes. Thankfully, some amazing friends came over (at 3:30 in the morning) so someone could stay with the girls while the other offered to drive us to the hospital. (Those are some amazing friends, y’all!) This time, I was praising God for hospitals that accepted children and heath care where I knew what to expect, as opposed to 6 months ago. Judah was monitored, probably a little longer than what is typical for a seizure, because his heart rate was 175 bpm upon arrival, and the doctors weren’t sure if it was an after effect of the seizure, anger at being in a hospital (can you say medical trauma?) or something else entirely. He passed all initial tests with flying colors, and I learned important things like when a seizure warrants an ambulance, when it calls for a trip to the ER, and when we can just monitor him at home. We believe it was another febrile seizure, but I was told that I need to figure out what is his “normal” for a seizure - which is not something I really want to do because it means witnessing more seizures. Ugh. He was discharged a few hours later, and his daddy didn’t find out until his plane landed 15 hours later. We have some follow up appointments on December 19, so pray that we get some answers and that everything checks out okay. Thank you for your continued prayers for our family.
In the last 3 months, we’ve been able to celebrate Judah’s half birthday (where he ate his first birthday cake), his first Halloween (where he dressed as a lobster), his first Thanksgiving (where he met new family and ate a lot of food), and his Family Dedication (which I wrote about in another post.) We are so thankful for God’s good gifts and for 6 months at home with our amazing little boy.