Life with Arthur: 8 Months

Dear Arthur,

What a month!! Just after turning 7 months old you went on your first airplane, all the way to England, to meet your Great Granny Bird (my grandmother). Grandy and Meli came along too and you also met your Great Aunt Tessa, your grandfather's cousin Jane, and Grandy's stepbrother Angus and his wife Anna. 

We were a little nervous to take you on an airplane and to navigate the airport with a baby for the first time, but you were a great international traveler. You went crazy with excitement when we first got on the plane and then slept almost the entire way to England and only cried for a few minutes right before we landed at Heathrow.

You promptly fell back asleep as we went through customs (you got your first passport stamp!), but woke up shortly after we met your grandfather and grandmother at Arrivals. We waited at Hertz for our rental car for what seemed like hours, but you happily hung out with your dad and nursed a few times. 

After picking up our rental car we drove to Letcombe Regis to your Great Granny's flat (apartment). She loved meeting you and presented you with a cuddly teddy bear as a welcome gift.

You were pretty tired during our first few days in England but adjusted to the time change very well. In fact, I was thrilled about the time change because you slept until 8 or 8:30am almost every morning, which is unheard of for you.

We spent part of our vacation in the Cotswolds, where you stayed in some very luxurious hotels (you were spoiled rotten). Our first hotel was the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe. Castle Combe is a beautiful 14th century village and we spent our first afternoon having lunch with Jane at the golf course and walking through the village.

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That night we also left you with a babysitter for the first time ever. Your "Hotel Nanny", Julie, was very friendly and sweet and you enjoyed spending time with her. Unfortunately, you once again refused to take a bottle so I had to leave dinner and come back up to our room to feed you. Thankfully you went to sleep easily after I left and your dad and I and Grandy and Meli enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the hotel's restaurant.

The next day we left for our second hotel, Calcot Manor. We spent 3 nights at Calcot Manor, touring a number of Costwold villages during the morning and hanging out at the hotel in the afternoon.

We took you to the indoor pool at the hotel on the first day but you didn't appear to enjoy it very much. Oddly enough we took you into the pool again the following day and you adored it. It was the first time that you really enjoyed swimming. You kept splashing yourself in the face and surprising yourself, but it didn't appear to bother you.

Our hotel had it's own creche (daycare), so we left you there for a few hours each day. I never expected you to sleep there, but you surprised us by taking a few catnaps on their bouncer. According to the staff you were very content and solely interested in lying on your back and swatting and grabbing at toys. No surprise there!

Each night we took you to dinner with us and you were so well behaved. The dinners often lasted over 2 hours but you never cried. Your grandmother Meli entertained you by taking you on "tactile tours", which essentially meant that you wandered around the lobby in the hotel grabbing all of the sweets out of the candy jar. You must have learned from the tactile tours, because we noticed that you were much more interested in touching and grabbing all sorts of things once we returned from our trip.

You also loved being carried around by Grandy, probably because he is so much taller than the rest of us! You were also quite popular with the hotel staff, including the polish bartender at the pub. You were quite the charmer.

We spent our last few days with Granny before heading back home to New York. Much to our surprise you decided to sit up during our last day in England. Previously you had refused to sit up and would try to kick out onto your back. I'm not sure what made you change your mind, but you now enjoy sitting and can sit for long period of time unassisted. It's a big change!

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Our return trip went much better than anticipated. We left Heathrow at 4:00pm and you were awake for a few hours on the plane before you finally passed out in your dad's arms (and later mine) for the rest of the trip home. 

While we were in England you all but refused to eat solids, perhaps because you were so distracted by everything around you and the new people. But since we've been back at home you have tried some new foods, including avocado and mango (which you adore!). In fact, you appear to enjoy the baby food in the pouches more than the homemade purees that I make you. How rude! I'm assuming that's because they are thinner than the purees that I make. 

You are still nursing 5 times and day and napping either 2 or 3 times. The third nap is always a challenge but you need it if you only take a 25 minute catnap in your stroller midday. You are still napping with me in our bed, but I'm hoping to break you of that habit very soon. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying our morning and afternoon cuddles. Since we started sleep training you have been sleeping much better at night. Your bedtime is between 7:15-7:45pm and you typically roll over on your side and fall asleep as soon as we place you in your crib. What a change from the nights that we spent rocking you and replacing your pacifier 20 times! You unfortunately wake up way too early in the morning, often around 5:00-5:30am. We did leave you with a babysitter, Courtney, for the first time this month. She came after you fell asleep and you slept the entire time that we were out eating dinner.

We spend many of our days with the other moms and babies that we have met. You love the moms, but barely even notice the other babies your age. It's pretty funny. 

You adore any and all attention that you can get. In fact, you've started to get upset when I leave the room. You love to be bounced on my knees as I sing you the Noble Duke of York nursery rhyme and to play a game I like to call "Fast, Fast, Freeze" (which essentially means I tell you to kick and run and then I say freeze and you stop). You also love flying in your dad's arms as he plays airplane with you and splashing in the bath tub. You greet your dad with a huge grin when he comes home from work and the two of you crack up and laugh as he takes his suit and tie off. He makes you giggle harder than anyone else I know and it's adorable to watch. 

You are a determined little man. You know exactly what you want at all times. We've begun physical training and your trainer, Christina, says that you are very strong but stubborn. That is no surprise to your mom or your dad. Thankfully you are such a sweetheart and happy 95% of the time. We tell each other every day how lucky we are to have you in our lives.

xoxo

Mommy