I have a Squishy documentation addiction problem.

When I was little, taking photos and recording video were a big deal. The equipment was expensive and you needed film or video tape. The equipment was clunky and so was storage. My mom had photo albums, betamax tapes, VCR tapes, etc. The photo albums are fun to look through, but I don’t remember watching the recordings much.

It’s so different now! All you need is a good smartphone and everything you need is there! You can take as many photos and videos as you want (for as long as you manage your storage well enough).

According to my iPhone, I have taken 4,399 photos of my 8 month old son. This does not include videos. Or the photos and videos Mikey has of him. My social media posts are 95% Squishy related and just like the stereotype, it does seem like I’ve gotten rid of my old hipper* self and have become the one-dimensional mother who’s world revolves around her baby.

(I promise I still have a brain and interests outside my child. But I have to admit, it does take some effort not to make it all about him.).

I have to stop myself from posting multiple photos of him on Instagram every day (I try** to limit it to one photo upload on my personal account and one in my Squishy Days account). I upload over a hundred photos every month on Facebook to commemorate his monthly birthdays. I also have this blog (the last thing I attempted to blog about was office supplies).

But having the privilege of being around Squishy 24/7 makes me hyper aware of how different he is every single day. Heck, on some days, it’s like Squish is a different baby after every nap! Don’t get me wrong—there are days that feel longer than others, but on most days, it still feels like I was barely pregnant yesterday!

I’ve received a lot of (unsolicited) advice when it comes to Squish, but the one that seems to hold the most truth is that all of this goes by so quickly. So I take as many pictures and videos as I can and I write as much as I can because I don’t trust my brain to remember all of it.

So thank you, dear internet, for helping me document our journey with Squish. I think I’ll keep going until he’s old enough to protest. Hehe. As a token of my gratitude, here is a bouquet of toesies:

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*hipper doesn’t really mean hip at all. I used to post a lot about Mikey, my dogs, coffee, and food.

**I try really hard, but there are days when I post more than one photo in each account. Hehehe.

Our 8 month old Squishy

April-May was eventful! Squishy had his first bout of diarrhea. Apart from the frequent wet poops though, he generally seemed like his normal self. Of course, as newbie parents, we were beyond stressed. We’re not really sure how he got it. We think it may have been some soup he had at a restaurant. Or it may have been related to his teething? He started eating his fingers more during that time.

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The worst of it happened the night before we were set to leave for Davao. We had just come home from his doctor who assured us that Squishy was fine and that we were doing everything we could to make sure he stayed fine (hydration drinks, probiotics, zinc drops, and diaper rash cream).

As soon as we got home (it was around 8 PM, our flight was at 4:30 the next morning, and still we had A LOT of packing to do), Squish pooped again and this time we noticed red streaks in his poop. We assumed it was blood and freaked out. After consulting with his pediatrician, we went back to the hospital and had a fecalysis done and waited. It was the longest one hour of my life. (The whole time though, Squish was acting completely normal). The results came back and his poop was completely normal except for the fact that it was softer than usual. The pediatrician said that it might have been some irritation in his butt hole. My mom says that it might have been fibers from the red couch we were sitting on (and he was happily licking) in a restaurant earlier that day. We were relieved. It was almost 11 PM when we got back home, put Squish to sleep, started packing, and had a hurried dinner. Mikey took a quick nap (I couldn’t sleep), and at 2AM we left for the airport.

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Squish was such a trooper! He was his usual cheerful self throughout the whole trip! His first plane ride went well. I breastfed him while waiting for take-off and he was asleep before we were in the air. I held him the whole time and my arms were like jelly after, but I’m so glad that he wasn’t irritable or in pain. The plane ride home was more challenging because the flight was delayed, he didn’t fall sleep right away, and he even pooped at the beginning of the flight. He didn’t seem to be irritated by the air pressure when he was awake. He was just really hyper because he was so sleepy. But as soon as I breastfed him after changing his nappy, he fell asleep and it was smooth sailing from then.

Squish had a great time in Davao! He loved swimming! And Mikey loved swimming with him too. He said that it reminded him of when he used to go swimming with his Dad. ❤ Squish liked splashing in the water and he loved playing with his floaters. I loved Squish swimming too because he would sleep so soundly after! In fact, I spent much of the trip eating dinner in our room because Squish was fast asleep and I had to watch him. Our room had cable and Mikey would send plates of food. I was a happy camper. Hehehe.

We got to spend time with more kids and babies while we were on vacation. Squishy loves watching kids and interacting with babies. Sometimes, he just watches them quietly. He becomes really happy when he gets to sit next to his cousin who’s just 2 weeks younger than him. It’s fun to see them interact and discover each other! We have to watch them though because Squish likes to pull hair and his cousin likes to scratch.

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We noticed Squish becoming more and more clingy with me this month. He’s still a happy baby, but there are times when he won’t want to go to anyone else—even Mikey. But as soon as I have him, he’ll happily interact with people. This becomes a bit problematic at night when I want to rest a bit and Mikey’s supposed to take over. But I noticed that his clinginess is directly correlated with his crankiness, so I just try to make sure he doesn’t get overly cranky.

Squish’s sleep is also evolving. He normally has two long naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and one short nap in the evening. But there are days when he can stay up all day and then he passes out at night. Hahaha. It’s getting harder to put him to sleep when there are other people around. When it’s just us at home, all I need to do is breastfeed him and he falls asleep. When there are other people around, he fights it. But as soon as we’re alone, he’s knocked out.

Squishy can stand without holding on to anything now! He starts off sitting up and then he tries rocking himself forwards and upwards, until he’s able to rock strongly enough to get on his feet. He looks so pleased with himself when he does it. He’s more confident on the bed, though—he stands up really fast, and he’s not afraid to plop back down on his butt. But when he’s on the floor, he stands up very carefully.

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I think Squishy inherited his father’s musicality! Last month, we noticed how obsessed he was with the Gilmore Girls theme song, Carole King’s “Where You Lead”. (The show is perpetually on in our home.) When the intro would kick in, Squish would stop whatever he was doing and start dancing! His dance consists mostly of arms swinging up and down while he grins toothlessly. Eventually we realized that it’s not just “Where You Lead”, but almost any theme song of a TV show (we’re currently marathoning That ’70s Show and he stops when that familiar guitar riff plays), or any song he’s already familiar with. He still loves the Hamilton original broadway cast recording too!

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Squish listening to That 70’s Show theme song

Squishy is finally big enough to sit in shopping carts! He likes dancing to grocery store music, attempting to grab things off the shelf, and occasionally making random shouty noises. It’s nice because it’s almost as if Max is adjusting to our lives now. Going shopping isn’t as much of a production number as it used to be!

 

Squish is a tall baby! The doctor said that he’s in the 90th percentile for his height. This is why he doesn’t look as chubby as he used to. Breastfed babies also tend to be leaner. There’s been some pressure from others to put him on formula, but two of our doctors assured us that he was healthy and encouraged us to continue breastfeeding if we can. But it’s hard not to compare your baby with others. Our doctor said that for as long as Squishy is happy, alert, engaged, and healthy, breastfeeding is the best for him. Besides, he’s already started eating solids (which is going well!) and that’s another source of nutrition. Hopefully we make it to one year! After that, we can re-evaluate. Maybe by then I’ll start pumping more seriously and we can lessen the direct feeds.

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I can’t believe we have an 8 month old baby already! I miss blob-on-the-bed-Squishy!

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2.5 month old Squish! ❤

The end!

When I was maybe 4 or 5 years old, my aunt used to put a book in front of me and make me read it out loud. I wouldn’t read the words, but I would make up stories using the pictures as a guide. She would then yell at me and accuse me of not being able to read. When I was around 6 years old, my mom would compare me to my cousin who was already reading chapter books and I would still borrow “simpler” books with pictures from our library. My family didn’t really foster a love for books, instead, they emphasized reading as a skill that you needed to be good at (otherwise, you would be an embarrassment—hello Chinese-Filipino upbringing!). So, for the first few years of my life, books just made me feel bad about myself. It took me a few years to discover how magical books were.

I don’t want that for Squish. I would love it if he excelled at reading (just like his Papa who could read aloud at 2 years old!). But what I really want is for him to love books, or, more importantly, I want him to love stories. I want him to be excited for the friends (or foes) he’ll meet in a new book, for the adventure that could unfold on each page, and to discover words that perfectly capture feelings that he didn’t know how to articulate.

It’s a bias I have, I know. And if it turns out that reading and books isn’t something that really floats Squish’s boat, then I’ll have to make peace with that. But for now, while I have the privilege to curate his activities, I will try my best to steer him towards books.

So far, it seems to be going well! I try to read to him at least once a day. Now that he’s more active, I usually read to him while he’s standing in his playpen. I try to read to him after he wakes up from a nap. His patience meter is at its fullest then! He likes books that aren’t too long, have colorful pictures, and are rhythmic or have lots of words that I can act out. His favorite books are:

  1. The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
  2. The Chu series (Chu’s Day, Chu’s First Day of School, and Chu’s day at the Beach) by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
  4. Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak
  5. Knuffle Bunny by Moe Willems

We have a few books that we’re excited for Squish to read that are still too advanced for him right now. Momma and Papa’s favorites are: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick, and of course, the Harry Potter series (specifically the Philosopher’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Azkaban) by J.K. Rowling.

These past few weeks, I noticed that Squishy is developing an interest in books (at least more than his interest in eating it, hehe). Whenever I leave a board book with him in his playpen, he’ll open it up and try to turn the pages. Sometimes, I’ll hold up a book in front of him and he’ll try to feel the pictures. And he sometimes shows excitement (by bouncing up and down) when I pull out a familiar book and start reading to him.

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Here’s a great article from the New York Times that encourages reading to your kids.  I hope we can continue reading together as a family habit. There’s only so much of this world that we can see in this lifetime, and books are such a great way to experience the world (and beyond!).

Happy reading!

Our seven month old Squishy

I can’t believe that Squish is seven months old already. This one was kind of a surprise. I used to be on top of his month-y birthday because I had this habit of reading weekly developmental write-ups but I got tired of reading because I’d have to skip forward a lot until I found a write-up that accurately described Squishy. Haha. I was still groggy when I realized it was his month-y birthday! He was playing with a half-awake Mikey and then I shot up and started singing to him.

Squishy is at such a great age right now. He’s so aware and present. Whenever we’re somewhere new or when there are new people around, he becomes quiet and observes before returning to his usual happy self. He doesn’t really have stranger anxiety yet (he’s cried a couple of times with his uncles, but I think he was also sleepy then). But he does look for me more often. Sometimes, when he’s with someone else and I leave the room, he’ll cry. But everyone still says he’s a friendly, smiley baby! I think that’s his super power—smiling! Haha. He’s so generous with his smiles and his whole face lights up. ❤

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Squishy loves to laugh too! He still laughs and giggles at the classics—tickling, jumping, and peek-a-boo’ing. But we’ve noticed that he also laughs empathetically! When he’s in the playpen and Mikey and I are goofing off in the room and we start laughing, he’ll watch us and then laugh with us also. It’s the cutest thing! But he doesn’t seem to have empathy with crying though. Haha. When I fake cry to see if he would cry too, he just giggles.

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Our little explorer’s gross motor skill development hasn’t slowed down one bit. He cruises like an expert and I sometimes catch him standing without holding on to anything (and then promptly falling on his padded butt). He uses a combo of cruising and crawling when he’s in his play area. And he’s fast! I feel kind of bad because we have to keep redirecting him because our space isn’t 100% baby safe yet. We’re thinking of bringing him to a Gymboree soon so that he can freely explore and play. Maybe in the next few weeks!

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Squishy loves music! It calms him down in car rides when someone else is sitting with him in the back and he wants to be with me. Whenever he hears the Gilmore Girls theme song play at the beginning of the episode, he stops whatever he’s doing to look for the iPad and watch. As soon as the song is done, he’ll continue playing. He dances to music too! He’ll dance while he’s standing or crawling. It’s so funny. Sometimes, it’s almost like he can’t help but dance. I’ve played music in the middle of a meltdown and he started dancing WHILE he was crying. It was so funny.

Squishy is babbling up a storm! His vocabulary includes: da, na, ca, thu, ta, and ma. But his favorite is da. When he’s upset and it takes us a while to pick him up, he makes the cutest scrunched up face and starts yelling: da-da-da-da-da!

I must improve my interviewing skillz. #squishydays

A post shared by Squishy Days (@squishy.days) on Apr 6, 2017 at 12:33am PDT

 

Our little scientist has also been experimenting with cause-and-effect lately. His new favorite thing to do is to throw things out of his playpen. His toys are everywhere, but it entertains him and we’re able to leave him in his playpen for much longer now! Whenever I come back from the bathroom, there’s always a new toy on the ground.

Huli ka kalbo. #squishydays 🤤

A post shared by Charisse Tan-Llorin (@charissellorin) on Apr 5, 2017 at 8:38am PDT

 

He’s eating more and more now! While the doctor told us to try to give him 5 meals a day, I usually end up just giving him 4 meals – breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner. He’s on a mix of bottled baby food and “real” food. He loves soup! He’s finished orders of miso soup on his own. His favorite is Xiao Long Bao soup. Hahaha. When I feed him at home, it can get really messy. He loves holding the spoon by himself. Sometimes, I’ll let him scoop the food out of the bowl too. So the food kind of gets all over him (I’ve found food behind his ears and behind his knees) and there’s a distinct splatter radius around his high chair. Hahaha. I have to keep reminding myself to see past the mess and appreciate the opportunity for him to practice his fine motor skills. For a while, he started having dry skin around his mouth and I realized it’s because I would wipe him up too often during the meal. I now wait until the very end to clean him up.

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While his food is still more mush than solids, his poop is the opposite! It now smells similar to our bathroom deposits and it sometimes comes out shaped like a hotdog. Hahaha. There are times when it’s still mushy though, but I think it’s because he still breastfeeds a lot. For some reason, it feels like he’s upped his breastfeeding game ever since he started on solids. He usually wants to feed 20-30 minutes after his meals. And it’s still the best way to put him to sleep.

Squish still sleeps best when he’s in between us. He’s so active in his sleep though! He twists and turns and tries to snuggle with us in the strangest ways. Whenever I check on him, he’s always in a different position. There are times when I wake up and we’ve become the letter H sleeping family—Mikey and I exiled to the edge of the bed and the very horizontal Squish is fast asleep. He has a cute drunken post-sleep phase now which lasts about 10-30 minutes before he wakes up completely. He’ll sit up and wobble around, crawling face down to one of us, headbutting anything that gets in his way, and passing out every now and then. It’s really funny and cute when you’re not a headbutt victim. We’re back to our three-hour sleep-breastfeed cycles at night—a great improvement since the horrid sleep regression stage. I hope we get back our 8-hour sleep-full nights, but I’ll take it.

I’m more confident when it comes to going out with Squish! I realized it’s much easier to have him in a carrier when I’m by myself. He doesn’t fuss when he’s in a carrier and I can go as slowly or as quickly as I want. When he’s in a stroller, he’s usually okay if we keep moving. When I slow down to look at something, he starts fussing after a few minutes. So we’re really making good use of our K’tan and we recently purchased a Bitybean carrier that we’re really enjoying! Hopefully this means that we can take Squishy on longer road trips soon! It’s getting harder to put him in his car seat! He’ll make his legs unbendable and he’ll really put up a fight and twist around as much as he can before you can get his seat belt on him! Mikey’s started taking over because he can hold him down better than I can. But once he’s in it, he doesn’t complain as much unless he wants to nurse. The key is to ignore him and let him play with his toys and look out the window. Once you start interacting with him while he’s seated, he will eventually want you to carry him.

I can’t believe he’s seven months old! Everyday, it seems like he’s more toddler than baby. Looking back at my old posts, I’m amazed at how much he’s grown and at how all of this (parenting) seems to come more naturally now. I used to be so stressed when Mikey would leave us for work and I would count the minutes until he would come home and save us. But now, I really enjoy all the alone time I have with Squish. There’s still so much to learn though! There are days when I feel like I’m not maximizing all of his learning potential, but I am thankful that Squish is so forgiving of his newbie parents. ❤

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The Momma Show

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Act 1934 of the Momma Show. This act involves shadow puppets while Papa naps after a long day of rehearsals.

There’s this Filipino saying that goes “nakakawala ng pagod” which roughly translates to “takes away tiredness” and often refers to babies/children.

When I was pregnant, other parents would always tell me what a blessing my baby was and how it’s hard work, but it’s truly nakakawala ng pagod.

Six months in (27 weeks today!) and it isn’t exactly like that for me. Especially when Squish went through sleep regression and was still amazingly active all day long, I truly felt the tiredness. And unlike any work that I’ve done in the past, there’s virtually no clocking out.

While the tiredness is oh so very real, when it comes to taking care of Squish, I realized that there’s an energy reserve that kicks in when you think you have nothing left. And then magically, I can continue to play and smile with my baby. I have yet to empty out this reserve.

Unfortunately, outsiders who visit on the days when the energy reserve is tapped may find our home chaotic—dishes in the sink, unsorted laundry, and toys everywhere. Plus, the unbathed lady who is still in her PJs at 4 in the afternoon. Hahaha. Oh well.

I am still not the domestic goddess I envisioned when I decided that I would stay home to take care of Squish. But here are a few Char’s-attempt-at-being-human milestones that I’m proud of:

  • I can use the toilet without anxiety
  • I can take a bath before my husband gets home
  • I can make the bed at some point during the day
  • I can fry up a simple lunch if there are no leftovers (and eat!!!)
  • I can do the dishes
  • I can sort and put away the laundry

The next thing on my to-do list is to learn how to go out with the baby by myself! I feel kind of helpless during the week when Mikey is at work and I hate that I have to wait for him before I can run errands. Maybe I’ll try to do a grocery run with Squish soon! Hehehe.

Our Six Month Old Squishy

Oh my goodness, so much has happened this month!

Last month, Squishy learned how to sit up. Literally a couple of days after mastering sitting, he started pulling himself up in his playpen! He loves to stand and cruise now. He’s also a really fast and efficient crawler, so there’s no leaving him to play on his mat anymore because he will go where he likes!

Squishy is also a talker now! Well, he’s a babbler. Hahaha. Especially when we wake up together, we’ll kind of just lay there looking at each other and he will talk up a storm until he’s ready to go exploring again.

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He’s been fascinated with his hands lately! I don’t know if it’s because Mikey would try to keep him entertained with his hands (puppeteering sans the puppet), but Squishy would sometimes space out and stare at his own hands while moving them slowly. Maybe he finally gets that he’s the one making them move! Hehe! But it’s funny to watch him do this because it’s kind of like he’s high.

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We realized that the best way to keep Squishy from freaking out in his car seat, stroller, high chair, or even when we’re trying to put him to sleep is to completely ignore him and talk to each other. For some reason, Squish zones out while people are talking! When we’re in the car, Mikey and I will talk and Squishy will just stare at me and eventually fall asleep. He still gets restless sometimes, especially when he catches your eye. When that happens he pulls at my shirt to try to get me to pick him up.

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Squishy still hasn’t gone back to sleeping all night. But I’ve noticed that there are times he can try to go back to sleep by himself. I think it’s because he’s more agile and he can shift his position to find a comfier spot. He still sleeps in bed with us, but this month, we decided to put him in-between us because he sits up to cry (while he’s still asleep!) at night. We’re worried he might fall over the ledge of the bed. So far it’s been okay. I’ve been ejected from my spot a couple of times when Squish feels like rolling around a lot in his sleep. I end up sleeping on the foot of the bed with one hand on his butt so that I can monitor his movement.

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Our journey with solids is pretty uneventful so far. We’ve tried feeding him potatoes, lugaw, and some cabbage. But he doesn’t really like it so much. He kind of just plays with it in his mouth. Hopefully, if we keep going, he’ll like it more.

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We’re so happy that Squishy is so happy. He loves to laugh. He laughs when I do a silly dance or make silly faces, he laughs when Mikey plays peek-a-boo with him, and he laughs when we make funny noises. Sometimes, he giggles when Mikey and I are laughing about sometime. And he laughs while he’s breastfeeding too. We noticed that Squishy really enjoys watching his own videos. If it’s a video of him laughing, he’ll start giggling.

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Squishy still hasn’t exhibited any stranger anxiety. When he’s sleepy/cranky though, he generally wants to be with me or Mikey. And I think he knows who his grandmothers are.  He likes people! It doesn’t take him too long to warm up to someone. As long as you talk to him, he’ll give you a big smile.

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This month has been really hectic for us—Mikey is very busy with the school play at work, I accepted my first work-from-home gig, and we attended a few social functions with Squish. The first one was a bridal shower I was helping to host. Initially, Mikey agreed to hang out with Squishy while I hosted the event, but he realized last minute that he had to work. So I co-hosted while carrying Squish. He was such a trooper! He didn’t cry at all and the ladies just passed him around while I ran the games!

The second event we went to was a wedding. I was a part of the entourage, so I had to have my hair and make-up done during the morning and sit away from Squish during the ceremony. I made sure to arm Mikey with two bottles of breast milk and Squish finished one during the morning while waiting for me to get my hair and make-up done. It was the longest I had ever been away from Squish! He slept through the entire ceremony and was sociable during the reception. He even sat in his stroller to let Mikey and I enjoy our main course.

It’s been such a relief to be able to leave him with Mikey for extended periods of time. For a few nights, I put Mikey on Squish duty while I had to work on my desk. It was kind of challenging at first, Mikey wasn’t used to having him alone for an extended period of time. So there were some bumps (literally and figuratively), but I’m so glad that we kept at it because Mikey feels more empowered to take care of Squishy by himself and I’m more confident in leaving them for an extended period.

Squish didn’t gain too much weight this month. The doctor says that it’s because of all of his activity and how it’s really time to start supplementing my breast milk with solids. Sigh. She put us on a strict solid food feeding schedule and I’m supposed to feed him solids before breastfeeding now. I’m kind of sad because I feel like I was just getting the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing, but I hope that Squishy gains more weight this month and that he starts enjoying solids more.