6 Months!

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It is so hard to believe the trips are 6 months old already! That means they’ve been around for half a year! Considering that I wasn’t even pregnant a year ago today, that’s some wacky math. The last month with this trio has been so much fun. They are in constant discovery mode. Discovering their laugh, their hands, their toys, their likes, their dislikes, their reflections, each other! All of a sudden their sitting in their Bumbos (sort of) eating rice cereal. From a spoon (albeit a VERY small spoon)! Here are their six month stats:

Jack:

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Nickname(s): Bub. Bubby, J-Man, J-Man Magoo

Weight:  12 pounds, 7.5 ounces

Clothing Size: Starting to make the move from 0-3 month to 3-6 month sizes

Digits of choice: Index, middle, and ring finger, all at once

Milestones: Rolling back to front, mimicking sounds, bringing hands to mouth, eating solids (rice cereal), reaching for things with one hand.

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Favorite Pastime: Blowing raspberries

Least Favorite Pastime: Getting stuck on his tummy after rolling back to front. Nobody told him he was supposed to learn these skills in the other order.

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Feeding: Still a bit of a squirmer, Jack is taking anywhere from 4 – 6 oz of milk at a time, and he’s on board with the rice cereal. It took a little convincing, and he has to be reminded not to talk with his mouth full, but he’s definitely getting the hang of it.

 

Sleeping: Longest stretch? 12 hours, 26 minutes. Average nighttime stint? 11 and 1/2 hours. He is a champ. He’s down between 6:30 and 7:30 and up between 6 and 7. Rarely a tear is shed. He also takes the longest naps (when sister Sophie is not distracting him from her crib across the nursery)!

Special Talent: Sleeping. Laugh all you want, but this is a talent I WISH I had developed as a child. I have since made up for it and could now win awards for my ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, but Jack comes by this skill naturally. And we love him for it.

Other: Jack is our sweetheart. His smile melts my heart, and the way he puts his hand on Sophie’s shoulder when she’s fussing is pretty much the most amazing (and adorable) thing ever. He was the first to discover rolling over, but he’s since decided he’s not terribly interested in the whole thing. I’m pretty sure he’s one of those, “I’ll do it when I really have to” babies. It also seems that he is wise enough to realize that when he rolls from back to tummy, he gets stuck on his tummy. He doesn’t like being stuck on his tummy, so the solution? Stop rolling! That is one smart baby, and I applaud him for his problem-solving skills. You know what gets Jack to roll over? The English Premier League. He LOVES watching soccer. I know he’s not supposed to watch t.v., but it’s not like we have the child propped up on the couch facing the screen. If Jack is on the floor while Dad is watching soccer, he will roll or pivot himself around until he can see the screen. And then he just stares. Go ahead and judge us for letting our 6-month-old “watch t.v.,” but I’m pretty sure Jack will survive.

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I’m telling you, the child was initially on his back, facing the other direction, and several feet farther away from the television.

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Here he is working on two fingers.

Henry:

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Nicknames(s): Magoo, H, H-man, Mr. Bub, or any combination of the four

Weight:  12 pounds, 11.5 ounces

Clothing Size: Starting to make the move from 0-3 month to 3-6 month sizes

Digit of choice: Thumb

Milestones: Rolling back to front, pushing up on his hands, pivoting on his back, bringing hands to mouth, eating solids (rice cereal), reaching for things with one hand

Favorite Pastime: Moving around! A close second: looking at himself in the mirror.

Least Favorite Pastime: When you take the bottle out of his mouth and he’s not finished yet.

Feeding: He is our champ. He rarely leaves a bottle unfinished, and he is a natural with the rice cereal. Currently downing 6 oz a pop.

His first taste: 

Sleeping: Longest stretch? 12 hours, 17 minutes. Average overnight? 12 hours. Naps are less predictable, and recently he seems to have learned a thing or two from Sophie and has started crying when we put him down for the night. Still. 12 hours overnight? We’re not complaining 🙂

Special Talent: Rolling over. Yes, Jack, discovered it first, but once Henry caught a glimpse of his brother thrusting his legs in the air and over to the side, he began practicing, perfecting his own technique so as to minimize effort and maximize success. You may recall that Jack pretty much stopped trying as soon as he realized he got stuck on his tummy. I praised Jack for his problem-solving skills, and I applaud Henry for his perseverance!

Other: Henry is our mover (see above). We recently had to reconfigure our entire living room and purchase a large foam mat because Henry could not be contained by the activity mat any longer, and frankly, it just gets in his way. The same could be said for his brother and sister. Anyway, I was reminded of one morning in the NICU when little, 4-pound Henry, still hooked up to CPAP, a feeding tube, and three monitors, was DETERMINED to get out of his isolette. He was headed for the door! It was hard to capture on my iPhone camera at the time, but here he is climbing over the barricade of blankets.

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Here he is now, all (nearly!) thirteen pounds of him trying to get off of that activity mat. He’s also desperately trying to look at himself in the mirror.

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Sister Sophie in the way? No matter. Just grab ahold and try to move her so you can go around. Or just keep rolling and see if she’ll take the hint.

 

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Henry thinking about how to manage the situation.

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Going for it..

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I think you can all tell how Sophie feels about Henry invading her personal space. She is throwing a block with her right hand, but I’m pretty sure Henry just thought, “Hand in my mouth? Don’t mind if I do!” and started sucking.

While he will suck on pretty much anything that makes its way into his mouth, Henry is partial to his own thumb, and rarely a moment goes by when he is not shoving it in his mouth. It doesn’t matter if he’s eating. It doesn’t matter if he’s rolling. As much as he loves rolling, Henry will sometimes stop mid-roll to suck his thumb. 5:51AM and Henry’s awake? Don’t worry, he’s just hanging out, sucking his thumb.

Sophie:

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Nickname(s): Soph, Noodle, Sophie-Sopherson

Weight: Weight:  11 pounds, 8.5 ounces

Clothing Size: 0-3 months

Fingers of choice: All five! She doesn’t discriminate. If she can get that whole fist in her mouth, she will.

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Milestones: Pushing up on forearms, rocking back and forth, reaching for things with one hand

Favorite Pastime: People watching

Least Favorite Pastime: Not getting what she wants when she wants it 🙂

Feeding: Sophie prefers the one-on-one feed rather than sharing this time with her brothers. She can still be a bit tricky, depending on her mood, but she’s holding her own, taking 5 – 6 oz at a time. As for the rice cereal, it probably won’t surprise you that Sophie turned up her nose at her first few tastes.

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Aunt Addie tackling the “Double Feed” with the boys.

Sleeping: This is definitely a work in progress. Her longest nighttime stretch is 11 hours, 55 minutes, and right now, she’s averaging 11 hours overnight, from about 7:30 PM to 6:30 AM. This is a recent phenomenon (since we reintroduced Zantac and started the Steroid cream–see “Medical Stuff” below), so I hope I haven’t just jinxed it here! And it didn’t happen without a fight. Perhaps I’ll write a post about sleep training at a later date, but it’s still hit-or-miss getting her down at night without tears, and those tears can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour and five minutes. Daytime naps are even more unpredictable, and despite our best efforts, Sophie would rather nap in the swing than in her crib. Like I said, a work in progress!

Special Talents: Burping. She puts her brothers to shame. We are so proud.

Other: Sophie is our peanut. She is super short and squishy in all the right places. She is sweet, silly, and yes, a bit demanding. But that’s how a diva is supposed to behave, is it not?

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Sophie LOVES being snuggled, and when she greets you with that huge smile every morning, it’s hard not to oblige. She can get a little aggressive with her toys, but we’re pretty sure that’s just how she shows her affection.

Medical Stuff: Sophie is dealing with a pretty bad case of eczema, so we don’t always blame her for the fussing.

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This photo doesn’t do it justice.

We’ve tried all the home remedies, and last week, when we finally took her to the pediatrician (she was scratching herself to the point of bleeding, THROUGH her sleep sack AND her pajamas), she prescribed steroid cream. The cream worked its magic in the span of two days, but three days after we stopped, her flare-ups are back. We’re hoping to find a longterm solution soon.

Also, the day before we took Sophie to the doctor, we came home to find that she had lost her voice! This was especially noticeable when it came time to put her to bed. The doctor’s conclusion? A combination of two things: two much reflux and too much crying. Back on the Zantac for Sophie.

The best part about the trips is that they’re all finally starting to notice and interact with one another.

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Henry: “Wait. Whose thumb is that?”

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Henry: “Hmm…I don’t think it’s my thumb, but that guy looks strangely familiar.” Sophie: “What’s going on over there? If only that ENORMOUS head would get out of my way…”

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Holding hands. Brotherly love!

And sometimes, they’d rather be alone, and that’s ok too.

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Sophie: “Um, guys? I don’t think there’s room for all three of us in this chair.”

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Seriously, guys. Get out.

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Look, Ma! I found my hands!

First things first: This photo never made it intp my Norfolk post, and it should have! 

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Ok. Down to business. The trips are nearly 21 weeks old and more than eight weeks past their due date. A typical eight-week-old might be developing his or her social smile, sucking on his or her fist, recognizing people and objects from 18 inches away, and responding to the sound of our voices physically or even verbally with cooing sounds. A typical 20-week-old might be able to roll from his stomach to his back, to push up on her elbows, to reach for toys, and to grab things with some intent. He or she will have good(ish) head control while sitting supported and will probably hold his or her head and chest upright during tummy time. 20-week-olds can usually see across the room (though we’ve already established that this was never the case for Will!), can move their eyes together smoothly to follow objects and people around the room, and can recognize more subtle distinctions in color. So where do our in-betweeners fall?

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1) Smiles abound! Sophie is our resident smiler and has been for some time. She is pretty non-discriminating in her smiles, although she shares her biggest ones for her dad and for whichever one of us has the pleasure of greeting her first in her crib each morning. This is my absolute favorite time of day! Jack’s daily smile quota is increasing steadily, and he’s also establishing that early morning, “Hey! I know you!” smile. We get TWO (eventually three!) of those each morning? How lucky are we? Henry is our holdout. He smiles all right, but he still favors the quizzical, furrowed brow face, especially in the morning. I suppose he comes by that one naturally, so we can’t complain!

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Henry rocking the smile.

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Happy Sophie

 

Jack’s greeting this morning:

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Henry’s:

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2) The fist-sucking is in full swing. Everybody’s hands are in the mouths so often, it’s increasingly difficult to get the bottle in their mouths. It’s like, “Hello! If you would just move that hand out of the way I could give you some real food!” It also makes swaddling that much like straight-jacketing (not a verb, I know). The more desperate they are to find those hands, the more they wiggle and wag inside their swaddle sacks, which is equal parts amusing and sad.

Sophie found her hands in Norfolk and we now have this never-ending battle with her over scratching at her face. Hence, the mittens.

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The truth is, they don’t really care whether it’s their hand or somebody else’s. If your hand (or wrist or shoulder) finds its way in front of Jack or Henry’s mouth, get ready to be slobbered on. And sometimes, Henry’s hand finds Jack’s mouth and vice versa, and for a split second the hand owner is a bit startled to find someone ELSE sucking on his hand, but the sucker is none the wiser. My hand? Your hand? Whose hand? Who cares! So we’ve found our hands, but we’re not yet fully aware that they are extensions of our own bodies and that we have control over where they go (sort of).

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3) Those silly baby sounds! We now have a range of gurgles, giggles, oohs and ahs, and if you’re patient enough, you can usually get a conversation started with one of the trips. We have yet to capture this well on video, but we’ll keep trying! It’s just so much fun when it happens, no one wants to run and get the camera.

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4) These guys (and gal) are definitely moving their eyes together smoothly to follow things around the room. One of my favorite games is walking back and forth in front of them all and watching their eyes move left to right and back again as if each promenade across the room was somehow different from the last. Sophie’s also begun to notice the boys, though I wouldn’t say she recognizes them yet.

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Hi, Dad!

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Who’s touching me?

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Wait, who are you? And why are you in my bed? Hello?

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Ok, fine. You can stay.

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Henry’s serious side.

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5) Head control? We’re getting there! The boys have a bigger challenge here because proportionally-speaking, their heads are much bigger. Still, everyone is getting pretty darn good at holding their head up when sitting up and supported. In fact, this is the preferred position for Henry, and Jack is pretty keen on it too. Tummy time is still a struggle. Not in the sense that they dislike it all that much, but in the sense that it is far easier to just lie there with your head to one side than to bother lifting and rotating it! In fact, when the boys finally get up the nerve to turn their head to the other side, it usually involves brushing their faces back and forth across the mat repeatedly. They’re not much for efficiency yet.

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We love being upright!

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6) There is some reaching/grabbing going on, but it’s difficult to say whether it is with intent or not. We’re certainly not in the “grab everything” phase, and more often than not, everybody keeps his or her hands clenched. But every once in a while, somebody gets a hold of something and starts to realize that that thing will move if they wave their hands around enough.

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So we’re not really pushing up on our elbows or lifting our heads when placed on our chest, and we’re definitely not rolling yet. And we haven’t started reaching for toys with any real purpose, but we are definitely starting to notice them! You all realize that when I use the collective “we” here, I am referring to the babies, yes? Will and I can push up on our elbows and lift our heads when we have the energy to do so, although we both need a little help seeing things across the room! Anyway, you might be wondering why we care about all of these milestones so much. Of course every baby is different, preemie or not, and it is too exhausting to let yourself get worked up over every milestone not yet reached. But it is just so much fun to watch it happen! And we get to see it three times over–this is especially helpful in case one of us misses the first one! Given all our little trio has been through in their very short lives, it feels like a huge triumph each time one of them does something new. How great must it be to discover your hands for the FIRST time?! I used to feel this way when I was teaching second graders to read or spell or add or subtract. I so wish I could remember what it felt like that first time I understood what other people (grown-ups) have known for years and years. Watching someone else make that discovery is almost as satisfying.

We also spent so long just watching Henry, Jack, and Sophie eat, sleep, and grow, it’s so much more entertaining to watch them suck on their hands or smile at something you said. So we’ll keep marking their milestones, keeping in mind that they’re like to fall in between their adjusted age and their chronological age, and savoring each new development as it comes.

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Practicing the “Wave”?

 

 

 

 

  

 

4 Months Old!

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4 Months Old! (Or 5 weeks, but who’s counting?)

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It took a while (and a rattle) to get everyone to look at the camera.

Henry:

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Weight: 9 lbs, 12 oz

Milestones Reached:

  • follows a moving person
  • follows a moving object
  • brings hands to mouth
  • cries to express needs (he’s been doing that for a while now)!

Likes: milk (and lots of it)!

Dislikes: dirty diapers

Things We’re Working On: Smiling, Lifting his head up (instead of falling asleep) during Tummy Time

Jack:

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Weight: 9 lbs, 12.5 oz

Milestones Reached:

  • follows a moving person
  • follows a moving object
  • brings hands to mouth
  • cries to express needs, but only if he REALLY, REALLY, needs you. He’s still our mellow fellow!

Likes: popped collars

Dislikes: frozen milk

Things We’re Working On: Smiling, Lifting his head up (instead of falling asleep) during Tummy Time, Sitting up in the Bumbo

Sophie:

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Weight: 9 lbs, 1.5 oz

Milestones Reached:

  • follows a moving person
  • follows a moving object
  • brings hands to mouth
  • cries to express needs (duh)
  • smiles at friendly faces (and bunnies)

Likes: Bunnies! Stories! Jacque the Peacock, mobiles, ceiling projections, pretty much anything she can look at.

Dislikes: frozen milk

Things We’re Working On: Sitting up in the Bumbo, going to bed. Staying asleep.

 

Things The Triplets Are Doing in Month Four:

  • taking walks
  • reading stories
  • playing on the activity mat
  • having tummy time
  • sitting in our Bumbos
  • beginning to appreciate the Mamaroo
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Story Time!

Don’t believe that four-month-olds/five-week-olds are interested in stories? Take a look at the close-up below and tell me Sophie is not listening and looking at the pictures.

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Henry enjoying his new, fancy mobile from Godfather John

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Brothers!

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Here are the boys working on their smiles:

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Messy, Stinky, and …?

What? You didn’t actually think that once I was home with three infants I’d still be posting every day, did you?

In case you were wondering, Jack and Sophie are hanging on tight to the nicknames they were granted in the NICU. Sophie, adorable though she is, is as messy as ever. Yesterday, she worked her way through no fewer than SIX outfits. All this to her brother Henry’s one. No amount of bibs or burp cloths can keep this girl clean. And Jack? Still stinky.

Henry, on the other hand, might need a new nickname. It’s not that he isn’t noisy. He definitely can be. But as it turns out, so can Jack and Sophie. And they just take turns being noisy (which we appreciate, don’t get me wrong). so we are taking nominations for Henry’s new nickname.

Follow-Up with the Doctor

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This is outfit number three, by the way.

Sophie had her follow-up with Dr. Koty (the pediatric ophthalmologist) yesterday, and good news! Her blood vessel growth has regressed (which is, in this case, a good thing). Her big little eyes are back on track towards normal development at least in terms of the retinas. Given the genes she’s inherited, she just might need glasses for those big little eyes one day.

Baby Gear

One thing that’s fun about being home is that we get to try out all of our baby gear and see what everybody likes. So far, Henry has taken to the swing, Sophie to the bouncer, and Jack to the rocker (see the last post for photos). And when I say, “taken to,” I mean they fall asleep in these various contraptions and stay asleep, and we haven’t bothered to switch them up at all because, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? The MamaRoo is arguably our “coolest” baby depository, and Jack seems to like it well enough. Here he is:

Feeding

Feeding is definitely easier with three sets of hands, so when Grammie and Aunt Addie came to visit, we were in luck. And of course, Henry, Jack, and Sophie were in luck because they got to spend time snuggling with some of their favorite relatives!

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Feeding two at a time (in any fashion) is made easier with this Twin-Z pillow (Thanks, Lynsey)! It also makes for a decent baby depository right after a feed so as to minimize spit-up.

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And lest you thought we’d been neglecting Harry, Ron, and Hermione, story time with “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (my personal favorite) has commenced at home.

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