Sib month by month

One year

Last week we celebrated Bea’s birthday, the safe arrival of my nephew (!), and MG’s kindergarten graduation all on the same day.  To conclude the celebratory high from the week, today is Sib’s birthday. One year old!

As if having one birthday for my girls last week wasn’t hard enough (on me), this week we get to have another one!  I’ve said it before, the first birthday is rough.  Knowing that this baby will be our last makes it even harder (emotionally).

But there have been so many good milestones this month, as well as the celebration cup overflowing. Much like the parenting descriptor for young children, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

One year ago today, at about 4:56pm EST (roughly one hour after she was born, as the first thirty or so minutes were filled with postpartum contractions while the remaining details of birth were wrapped up, to put it delicately), N and I kept looking at each other and saying, “what a good day” &  “what a red letter day”.  We could not stop affirming each other in how happy we were with our freshly grown family and the miracle of a healthy birth.

There is a certain high that comes over me after birth, when the anxiety, morning sickness, and discomfort sheds off of me like the discarded hospital gown.  That high carries me through the months of interrupted sleep, the woes of carrying around extra pounds, and the out-of-control feelings wrought by surging hormones.  And then we land at year one.

Somehow at this point, everything seems to have balanced itself out, tipping the scales towards the good side, and we are still so happy and so in love with our little Sib.

As far as newborn years seem to go, this year really was a pleasant one, and I wish I hadn’t paid attention to the consternation of the fear-mongering blogposts about third borns that wanted me to believe otherwise.  My only two complaints from it is somewhere around 4 months, she forgot how to sleep at night.

Thankfully, as of this month and a three day intensive Sleep Boot Camp, we have turned the corner! Now I lay her down at 7:30pm and she wakes up at 7:30am.  I still don’t feel well-rested (it will take me a while to recover from those interrupted 7 months), BUT I do now lay down without anxiety at night and that is a wonderful feeling. Sometime this month she also dropped her morning nap, so we are adjusting to that, but with summer arriving on its heels, a new schedule is warranted anyway.  One that will open up our mornings will be most appreciated.

And I think I have to take some credit for this bad sleep.  I didn’t brush up on my healthy sleep habits in this pregnancy, relying on my former knowledge and status of two well-sleeping children. PLUS the year of 2016 added to the mix, and I got us into some bad habits (like feeding her right before every nap).  Once we turned that around, a huge improvement was noticed.

My other complaint, which isn’t really a complaint, just a negative marker from this first year, was her sick bouts.  She didn’t get sick often, but when she did, it was INTENSE.  She still has some kind of vomiting issue that hasn’t been 100% resolved yet.  My ped thinks it’s some kind of immaturity that will get worked as she gets older.  It’s possibly related to food, maybe dairy or gluten.  But it doesn’t happen every time she has those foods, so a mystery to be solved another day.

There were two times we took her to the ER in the first year and the first being a very long stay.  Thankfully our girl made a full recovery both times and is a happy little thing now.

She is moving slowly but forcefully through her first year milestones.  Most noticeably this month, she’s been pulling up to a stand and can even balance holding on with just one hand. My gut stays it will be still some time until she is walking and she has not even attempted to climb the stairs.  Consequently, baby-proofing is going rather lazily, much like her new tricks, and I am a-ok with that.

This month has been the month of messes.  There is a kitchen drawer that holds all the plastic baby things: cups, bowls, and the like.  She will empty that drawer, move on to the drawer that has metal sheet pans and cake pans (which makes for a noisy dinner prep), then move on to the baby toy basket.  She’s also figured out how to open cabinets.  Not good for our game cabinet which feels like it has a 1,000 tiny pieces and takes 100 years to clean up properly.  As of yet, at least, she’s not a mouthy baby like Bea and doesn’t seem to put every little thing inside.

She loves to pull up on our coffee table, which is just the right height for her to see everything on it when properly standing, and narrow enough to access anything lying on it.  I had gotten in the habit of keeping our two tv remotes displayed on it for easy access.  She loves to throw them on the floor.  I’ve come to determine I can either leave them there for the remainder of the day where they will never be disturbed again, or I can pick them up each time, where they will be forcefully dropped promptly.  These are the battles I am fighting each day.

Messes also come in the form of meals.  Now that she is self-feeding, I find myself dutifully vacuuming the floor beneath her chair after every meal and snack.  I’ve never wished for a dog more.  She is slowly graduating away from pouches, and for that I’m most grateful.  But still a picky little one.  She is more apt to eat proteins: meats and eggs and beans.  She will not self-feed fruit, other than blueberries.  Veggies are a limited palette.  And she does not care for cheese in any form.  I was able to get her to start enjoying crackers this month so that is a win because they take a while to eat and she is quite demanding when hungry.

That being said, she is my medium-sized baby (despite her head start at birth), coming in at 20lbs to close out her first year.  Bea was 21 and MG 18, so she falls right in the middle.  As far as height is concerned, however, she is still losing the race on that one to the other two.

Also losing the race is her hair growth…after the initial brown shock of it, it slowed, changed to copper, then to an ashy blonde.  Sometimes it curls and sticks straight up, other times it lays flat.  I still don’t really know what it is going to look like as it is the same cornsilk blonde MG’s was at this age, and now, six years later, hers is a dishwater color.

Despite my complaints above, she has been an easy baby.  Teeth have been a non-issue other than the pools and pools of drool.  Spit-up only surfaced around month seven when she would eat solids and then immediately go to her belly.  I don’t think she is our happiest baby (Bea wins that award), but I think she is definitely our giggliest.  It is very easy to pull a belly laugh out of her by force (tickle), or just by looking at her funny.  She is expressive in her entire face.

On the other hand, her cry is still a piercing newborn part-scream, part-holler.  We commented on it when she was first born and she has not ditched it yet.  She doesn’t use this technique often, but when she does, we all come running.  #thirdchildwins

If I had to guess, I think weaning will be a non-issue.  We are already down to twice a day, not because she is disinterested, but mostly because she isn’t really interested if I don’t offer.   One thing I will say about the third is that they are nothing if not flexible.  She has been going with our easy flow since day one.

Well to send off this year, I made a video, part of my tradition of the first birthday.  It has been bittersweet to reminisce but honestly, I am  thankful that year is behind us and we can look back wistfully but never relive it.  Raising Sibby has been a joy and I pray God grants us many more years together to enjoy.

-smk

Eleven Months

Eleven months.  This is a hard one for me.  The first birthday looming in the near distance is a ticking bomb, nearly ready to explode with emotions.  Eleven months feels like we may as well be there, but not quite enough to enjoy the sweet reward of crossing the finish line.  It’s the 12th mile in the mini marathon, the eighth month in a nine month pregnancy.

At eleven months, this is what I know to be true of our girl:

-she seems more like her older sister every day. (I’m talking about MG).  Not only in looks do these two resemble each other, but also in personality and growth.  I was looking back in MG’s baby book and these two are just about neck and neck. Bea was ahead of them at this point, both in growth and development, but also in hair.

 

(Mg, Bea, & Sib, each at 11 mos)

-new tricks.  Tricks are my favorite because they are among the first signs that there is a real relationship between you and baby.  They understand you and they want your praise.  Some of her tricks include clapping when we say “yay” (and also when she’s really excited, like when I get her up in the morning…the cutest!), waving when we say “hi”  or “bye” (this one is probably my favorite because she has such a cute wave.  She is able to not just give a lazy forearm wave, but is able to rotate her hand back and forth vigorously on her wrist, which gives the impression of enthusiasm), and two new ones that are hit and miss but more hit as of late are raising both arms in the air when we say “so big”, and giving us very drooly, open mouth kisses when we ask for one.

-I spoke about it last time as well, but this month was full of anxiety.  Sleeping and eating were difficult (I will elaborate below), but also sickness was very prevalent as well.  One evening around 10pm, Sibby cried out and when I went to her, I found vomit in her bed.  I got her out and cleaned up, and then sat with her as it continued to flow, every 10-20 minutes for four straight hours.

Viruses are common this time of year and in young babies, but I wasn’t yet convinced this was a virus.  For one thing, this was the fourth time in 6 weeks that she had woken up at the same time of night and vomited in her bed, and then continued to vomit until her stomach was emptied.  (and while the vomiting didn’t last four hours the past times, it had gotten worse each time).  For another, she had no other symptoms: no fever, no diarrhea, and she always had eaten normally, if not better than normal on these days.  It gravely concerned me and I worried the range from food sensitivity/allergy, to something much more scary like a brain tumor.

I placed a call to the pediatrician’s office when going on hour two of the cycle. The doctor immediately launched into “this is just a virus” and explained how to keep her hydrated. Finally I interrupted her and explained this was the 4th time in 6 weeks and that got her attention.  She told me to go to the ER immediately.

Immediately? As in 2am? Yes.

Well I wasn’t convinced.  But after another hour of the same cycle, I finally began gathering my things to prepare to spend another night alone in the ER.  (*I would have called my parents to help with the other girls, but they were both fighting off the flu at this time)

We spent a miserable night there, with Sibby finally falling asleep in my arms, only to be woken up for x-rays, an ultrasound (to check for blockages), and to be catheterized for a urine sample.  So many negative feelings flooded back to me from our first experience with this and on top of that, I was beyond the point of exhaustion, having not slept at all that day, and not well at all, really, for the past few months.

Finally, around 6:30am, they released us with nothing conclusive and the directive to continue monitoring her at home.  Two days later, I was able to get her into the pediatrician’s office, and thanks to an unfortunate diaper blowout, they were able to take a stool sample which later confirmed she was battling Norovirus (unfortunately also confirmed by us that night as MG came down with it).

Somehow, and I mean this as a true miracle, it did not spread to the rest of us (!!!), but then both Sibby and MG came down with a different strain of something the following week that caused two days of fever, acheyness, and malaise.  Fun times.

-sleeping/feeding..somewhat of an improvement?  This month started with a lot of anxiety towards her eating and sleeping.  The dr had told us at her last checkup that she needed to consume more calories during the day (with the payoff being better sleep at night).  So I diligently tried all of my tricks to get more food in her (VERY reminiscent of MG’s 11 months).

Unfortunately, the only thing she will consistently eat are pouches.  I never wanted those to be her main food source as they are both processed and a very fine texture (not getting her used to “real food”), not to mention expensive.  But we found the key was to mix in these with table food, and a variety of foods she can self-feed (i.e. bits of turkey and cheese), and somehow we are able to stuff her full each mealtime.  She is completely over puffs, much to my dismay (an easy filler while I’m trying to get dinner on the table), but when she added in the self-feeding at the end of this month, it was a total game changer.  And has made meals a lot more enjoyable, for all of us.

Also rather unfortunately, all of this extra food did not seem to make her a better sleeper, but seemed to rather instead make her worse.  My pediatrician shamed me a little for nursing her every time she woke up and also before bed (rather she wants me to not nurse her within an hour of sleep so she won’t associate that with falling back asleep). While that is too extreme for me, I do agree with her that a huge problem is Sibby waking up at the end of sleep cycles (consistently every three hours), and wanting to nurse back to sleep.

So at the end of my rope, I decided to start baby bootcamp this past week and ever since, I’ve been getting woken up only once or twice a night to nurse, which feels very manageable at this stage of life. I don’t really want to put all the details on here because baby sleep is a very controversial thing and I don’t want to add to all of the noise on the internet, but we’ve found something that works for us that feels gentler than Ferberizing and shifts sleep/brain building above nursing through the night.  Ironically, I found we were doing the same thing for MG right around this time and while Bea was a wonderful sleeper, it gave me a little perspective that this is just another hump to get through and it really doesn’t matter how we solve this “problem” or when, she will turn out to be a happy, well-adjusted, sleeping child someday.

-not talking or walking.  The closest thing we have to talking is saying “dada” a lot, and for a lot of things.  She does have a sweet little voice.  Walking doesn’t seem like it is on the horizon, because she can pull herself up, but only to knees and she really doesn’t stand, even when we are holding her hands.  Her core is strong but her calfs are not.

Some people are blessed with babies that walk and talk by a year, but I don’t know where they get them.  Mine never do that.  They are content to do things on their own time and I am content to watch them.

Time already moves too fast for my liking, so the longer they want to stay little, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

-smk

Ten Months

Here we are; we’ve arrived at the ten month mark!

These monthly posts always sneak up on me and I always think “Not much as really changed since the last one”, but then I sit down to type and I am awed byt the changes that can happen in a month of a little one:

-new carseat.  We have sadly parted with the baby seat that brought home each of my girls (yes, it was expired by the time Sibby got to it, but we survived!)  I will miss the tinkle of the swinging bird hanging from it, a pavlovian reminder of the first few months of their lives.  I will not miss the weight of the thing and the burdensome amount of square space it took up in our lives.  It took me until Bea’s birth to purchase a snap ‘n go stroller for it and I will miss the ease of getting the baby in and out public spaces without it.

But she really is more of an arm baby now, and soon to be walker.  It was time.  She does enjoy sitting up more, I think, in her convertible car seat.  And one more baby item has floated peacefully away from us, like a piece of driftwood in a stream.

-eating.  This month eating has been varied and not predictable.  She has developed some strong opinions about food, but I’ve yet to be able to iron them out.  She still can’t handle much texture beyond a thick puree or a water soluble puff (she is back to liking these, PTL).  We are at an enjoyable stage where she can suck right from the pouch, forgoing the spoon, also PTL.  Nursing is still frequent during the day (and sadly, night), but has become painful again with the addition of teeth.

-speaking of teeth, she has 6 now that have popped through or almost popped through.  The top and bottom four are out, with eye teeth coming through on the bottom and probably soon the top.  I blame these for our wild nights of (sometimes) waking every two hours wanting to nurse, but really, who knows what is to blame?  The child is barely allowed a moment to self-soothe during the day because every time she awakes from a nap, I need to whisk her off somewhere.  At night, she is still sleeping in her/our closet and I’d rather feed her and be done in ten minutes rather than listen to her cry off and on for an hour or more.

It’s funny that it was called the four month sleep regression, but now it was lasted for six months!  She’s been a bad sleeper far longer than an angel one.

Far from a streak, but the last two nights she has slept two four hour stretches before crying out, so I am hoping the bit of sleep training I added in has curbed the worse-than-newborn every two hour phase.

-flexible movement.  She can go from belly to bottom or bottom to all fours very easily.  She is crawling 50% of the time now, with the other half of the time, preferring her belly (perhaps our new hardwood floors have a little to do with this).  She’s also getting practice with her fine motor skills, picking up puffs (or little bits off the floor), and bringing them to her open mouth.  I hope the crawling does not soon melt away her fluffy thighs and squishy arms.

She’s been doing this a while, but I still find it cute: finding and then rearranging her paci in her mouth.  It just seems so grown-up.

-No longer easily taking naps in our arms, we decided to put her in the church nursery the past two Sundays.  She has taken well to it.  This isn’t her first nursery experience, as she’s been going to child watch at the gym since about 4 months old, but still feels significant.  So far, she’s been my easiest with separation anxiety symptoms, but of course we’re not completely out of the woods yet.

Mercifully, with Sibby I don’t usually get sad about the vestiges of babyhood slipping away. Oddly, I think this is a true sign that she i our last; I find myself often more excited about the future than reminiscent of the past.  But, every once in a while, most especially when I think about how fast this year with her has gone, it cuts me quick.  This year was an unusual one and I do believe it stole some baby moments from me (and some from MG, who was separated from her baby sister for about 4 weeks).  That I do begrudge it.

But I will not told it against you, forever, just a small thing that sometimes comes to mind as I’m drifting to sleep each night.

(and then when I am awoken two hours later, I am wistful no more).

-smk

Nine Months

Nine months with our little Sib and this is what the last month has looked like:

-eating puffs: one of my favorite milestones because it gives me a chance to eat my dinner, too, and keeps her entertained at the table for much longer.  Victory!

-rocking on all fours and army crawling: I know this was mentioned last month but she can army crawl ANYWHERE now, and very quickly, as well as getting up on all fours as if she’s going to crawl.  She has also been able to get up onto the first step and a few other wiley places (my favorite one being my lap as I type this).  The last few days, she’s been teasing us by getting up into a crawling position and rocking back and forth, before plopping back onto her belly and looking at us lackadaisically as we urge her on. Last night she took her first  awkward, wobbly, but “crawling steps”, though!

-a tuft of hair that refuses to lay down.  (one day she woke up and it was just there).  Bea’s curls started like this, and at this month too (although she had quite a bit more at this point), so I’m hoping that is what we have to look forward to (and not just wild hair)

-first tooth, well make that teeth!  Three have popped through, with one on the way.  The top and bottom two, at that.  It hasn’t been until these last two or three days where they have been giving her fits.  She’s run a slight fever, been really cranky, congested, and true to form, not sleeping well at all.`

-yeah, sleep has been pretty non-existent (well, at night only.  Good naps still, THANKFULLY).  Third child, last child.  We’ll get through it.

-saying Dada a lot but I don’t think it means anything right now, just a way to add to the ever ongoing conversation around her

-growing out of more baby gear: the bumpo, exersaucer, and johnny jump up have all been packed away or sold.  She now uses the grocery cart seat rather than staying in her infant carrier the whole time.  She likes to sit and look at books or toys for a little bit but before you know it, she is on her belly scooting around and looking for trouble.

She loves her big sisters.  MG is still my right-hand man and can get her out of the car seat, feed her, rock her, she steps in to do just about anything to help without my asking.  Just this month, Bea has started to show more interest in her and isn’t as deterred by her cries (both a positive AND a negative).  Still so grateful for these three girls I get to call mine and feel more certain than ever that this is the end of growing our family and the beginning of truly enjoying it as is.

 

-smk

 

Eight Months pt 2

(part one is really unrelated but what came out first as I started typing this post. Read here if you wish)

Eight months with our sweet Sib and this is what I know to be true:

-she has now lived longer in TN than IN

-she is a great napper but terrible night sleeper, for now

-she no longer lets us rock her to sleep, even at night.  She prefers to find her own path to the sandman.  This is 1) a bit sad to give up this rite, and 2) difficult because when she finds herself inexplicably awake between the hours of 3am-5am, not wanting to be by herself in her crib, not wanting to be in our arms to rock, and only able to eat once during this time.  So…I’m just supposed to…play with her??

-she is doing really well with the solids.  Never mind that I am trying to keep my ivory carpet free of the pumpkin orange and putrid green spit up. She’s also been able to eat little bits of cheese this month and suck fruit through a mesh strainer.  Her appetite for real food has seen a huge uptick and her interest in nursing has simultaneously decreased.

-she is full on army crawling and pretty determined to get to anything she eyes.  She has also gotten up on all fours so I think she will be “regular-crawling” this month.  It’s definitely the more efficient way for her, but also the more undesirable path for myself as it means…baby proofing, emptied cabinets, and the like.

-she is still a happy, sweet baby and we all delight in making her giggle

-she LOVES baths and will barrel roll continuously in the water while splashing and trying to drink it.  Due to her messy eating habits, she requires one nearly every evening, if not more frequently.

She has little tufts of white-blond hair, coming in rather thick this month.  She is solid in form, but not heavy.  Her legs are corpulent, as well as her puffy feet, which have very little use other than to be another object to mouth.  Her arms carry the most loose skin, as little balls of dough stack one on top of each other.  You can squeeze for a while before finding anything firm of muscle or bone. I will be sad to see these thin down as she becomes more adept at crawling.

She is Heaven wrapped up in a fleshy little babe and I’m so thankful for the thirty-five weeks she’s been ours

-smk

Eight Months

I thought I would be really sad to type out those two words: eight months.  The meaning of them being that we are well into the first year of life and rapidly leaving behind the blissful newborn days I adore so much.  But as I double check my heart after laying them out there, there are no negative feelings that remain.

Maybe that’s because these past three months have felt more newborn than I care to admit (a la sleep probs), or maybe because I feel a quickening excitement for the stage that is coming (the one that doesn’t involve so much round-the-clock high maintenance), or maybe it’s due to what I would like to hope is the most true: we are finally catching our breath after the whirlwind of 2016 and I am starting to really enjoy life again.

With this being my third round of infancy, I am in a very contented position.  I am familiar with the fleeting spell of this season, so I am able to enjoy the nuances of each month and the milestones each one brings.  I am also keen to note that because it moves by so rapidly, these dog days (or should I say nights) won’t matter much in a month or two, just an anecdote in a few years. “Sibby was, by far, my worst sleeper”.  This third trial has brought me the most peace in that regard.

As if it needed any more encouragement, Sibby’s sleep habits have quickly closed any door that cautiously remained cracked for future siblings.  She’s our baby, and it seems she wants it to remain that way.  I love our family like this.  I love having three girls.  I love this stage they are in now and I am trying to catch it all with my eyes and press it closely to my heart to not miss a sacred moment.  But every once in a while, I get knocked down by a wave of grief as I think about this season of life closing.  A birth announcement, a wet baby pressed to a mother’s chest, a silky-haired ragdoll sleeping in his bassinet.

Those moments seize up my heart for a little bit and cause me to second guess myself, “are you sure.  Are you really sure?”

It’s funny because I have no desire to be pregnant again, no desire to labor again, no desire to go through the newborn stages again (thanks to a certain 8 month old), no desire to lose the baby weight again.  It’s just for those few blessed moments in the hospital and a few fears (that the girls will lack without a third sibling, that our family will always feel someone’s missing, that we will regret our decision) that occasionally bring me back to a place of doubt.

But then the moment passes and I realize it is just part of the dance of grief.  There is no way to remove it at once, like an offensive mole with a scalpel, it comes out in bits and pieces.  A little here, a little there.  Consuming you just for a second before releasing you back to reality.

I’ve been a student of grief this past year and I am still trying to understand it because I seek to do it well.  I didn’t realize, at first, that these moments were a part of a grief process, but once I was able to name it as that, it gave me a lot more power over them.  Now, instead of letting overwhelming feelings cause me to doubt myself, I lean into them a little, press back on the bruise, and put myself a little farther down the line towards healing each time.

It’s okay to feel sad.  It’s good to feel sad.  Experience is better than ignorance.

These past seven years, the ones that began with this indelible moment, have been wonderful, and I only look back on them with the ruddiest of rose colored glasses.  My body swelled with life, and I swelled with pride.  I loved the attention it brought me. I loved having several close girlfriends cross that threshold with me.  Not lacking in confidence, I knew I was going to be the best mom ever.  And I spent days reveling in a daydream of what motherhood was going to look like.

Well that was a wishful thinking at its best, but, I would say, save for about 5% of agony, I’ve enjoyed these baby-rocking, toddler-raising, preschool-answering, elementary-hugging years.  I move ahead with a little trepidation that the next seven years won’t somehow be as good, or as sweet, or that I won’t relish them as much because they will somehow be mundane.

But that would mean I’ve lived my seven best years already, and I refuse to let that be,

-smk

Seven Months

Well another monthly milestone is upon us.  I can’t believe our littlest babe is 7 months.

Ok, moment of grief (that she is closer to one than newborn) has passed and now onto the exciting points of this month.

At seven months,

-you are adjusting to solid foods.  You still only tolerate level one baby food (which I’ve determined is impossible to make on my own. How do they get it so smooth?? so, I’ve been buying the jarred stuff until you’re ready to move up).  It seems you’ve lost your gag reflex and can eat about half a jar per sitting.  You definitely prefer it to be warm or room temp to cold from the fridge

-you have added in another feeding at night, if not two.  Just like your sisters, around 6-7 months, it seems you need a feeding or two to get you through the night.  I don’t mind too much, as it takes about 10 minutes and you go right back to sleep.  What I do mind is somehow you seem to have a knack for calling me the moment I am just about to drift off.  Every single time.  Doesn’t matter if I go to bed early, later, or what.  Just as my mind is turning off and my body is relaxed, you sound the alarm.  You also seem to like the 5:00 hour which means I feed you and get myself back to sleep just a few moments before Bea wakes up.

This works okay though, because you sleep until 9 or so and then go back down around noon and wake up about the time we need to pick up big sis from school.  So problem, mostly solved.

-you are getting up on your hands and knees and starting to use your legs as if you are trying to get into the position to crawl.  I wonder if we’ll see this out of you this month or next.  I’M NOT READY.  You’re still not very steady sitting up and always prefer to be on your belly to sitting.

-you’ve slowed your growth a little bit and fit well into 9 or 12 month clothes.  I posted an IG story video of you in the bathtub and seven people commented on it to say something about your “back rolls”.  I think that’s the most comments I’ve ever gotten on a story and funny that they were all saying the same thing.  Your rolls are indeed comment worthy and you feel so good to hold.  Your thighs, especially, have an extra fold that sticks up and begs to be pinched.

-you only let me rock you to sleep at night and put yourself to sleep during the day.  You get tired about 2-3 hours after waking up

-you love your sisters and light up whenever they are in the room

-I still haven’t put you in the church nursery yet but I have a feeling you’ll be ready this month

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I feel a little socially constricted by having a baby, especially with the timing of the move.  It seems each morning is different with how late she sleeps and then I have to be ready to put her down for a nap just a few hours later.  It’s about all I can handle to spend her awake time getting errands done or sometimes going to the gym.  Most mornings while she sleeps I am doing “Bea school”, a cardio workout, cleaning the house, or other morning chores, sometimes all of the above.

Add to this, this is my first baby who refuses a bottle.  I surely should have started her a lot sooner than 4 months, but of course when I was living by myself with three little ones to manage, it wasn’t a high priority.  Her dr suggested starting a sippy cup of breastmilk this month so hopefully that will buy me more time in the evenings to sneak out on some social calls.  I don’t mind hibernating for a while, nurturing my little one.  I did it with my other two and enjoy this time as it is.  But it does feel a little weird to do this in a new city, with no established friendships (and the friends I do see, I’m only able to see them about once a month as explained at length above).  I’m trying to live with the tension of being social and nurturing a little one without rushing either.

Either way, so thankful for this little being that God saw fit to add to our family at the PERFECT time.  A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

-smk

Six Months

Six months, half a year, means…

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-your first cold.  This has greatly affected your sleep (what’s new?), much to everyone’s angst.  Easily forgiven though, as a congested nose seems a very rational and logical reason not to sleep, as opposed to last month’s mystery grab bag.

-sitting up…sort of.  If I prop you up, you can sit unassisted for just a few seconds!  You can also sit in my lap with little help and your stomach muscles are getting noticeably stronger.  Time to fatten them back up with avocado and oatmeal, I guess!

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-playing with toys.  The best ones are the ones you can grab with your fingers and swing around.  Your favorite one seems to be a large Octopus that has also been a favorite for your sisters, too.  All of this finger work means that you can grab your pacifier (attached to its clip) and place it correctly in your mouth!  Win for both of us!

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-you are taking better naps…at least ones longer than 45 minutes.  I think we are somewhat starting to get on a good schedule.  Its certainly not the one nap in the morning, one nap in the afternoon schedule I’m used to of six month babies, but it is working, for now, for us.  So goes the third child they tell me!

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-you are very aware of your surroundings now and will not let me rock you to sleep for naps anymore.  If there are people around you, you will not eat or sleep, either.  You will will yourself awake long past your bedtime to interact with the party.  Extrovert? or the rites of childhood?

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-you are probably ready for solids, if not for your mother dragging her feet.  You are now my latest to start (the other two began around 5.5 months).  Laziness on my part has delayed us, but I feel I have no more excuses after Thanksgiving.  Plus, sweet potatoes are on sale and very seasonably appropriate right now, yes?

-you are getting around with ease.  Rolling has become your M.O. and you can get to just about anything you set your mind to.  You are rolling over, both directions, with ease now.  You’ve lost the stiffness and frightened look about you when it was new.  And you’ve graduated from doing it constantly, as if you were afraid you were going to forget.  Now it come much more gracefully, but with purpose.

When I watch this video of you, I am instantly filled with your scent.  It’s the milky smell that always seems to linger on your cheeks, combined with the Dreft scent of your clothes, and the shampooed fragrence of your downy hair.  As I watch you roll on the floor, I want to kiss my favorite spot on your neck, in between folds, and pinch your doughy thighs.  I want to wiggle my fingers just above your face and feel your firm little fingers, with their sharp, little fingernails, wrap around them in satisfaction.  I want to push on your feet and trail your toenails back and forth across the back of my hand.  And then I want to blow on your belly and make you laugh until you’re out of it.  You are my baby, but you are not keeping the way you are supposed to.

Tis the season of Thanksgiving, and you are at the top of my list,

-smk

Five Months

Guess who is five months old??

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But first, a confession.  Last night at 10:31pm, moments before I was about to lay down in bed, I glanced at my calendar to see what was on the docket for tomorrow.  Something struck me about the date, October 23, and I sat for a minute trying to think what was significant about it.  It took me longer than I care to admit to realize the date was important because it is Sibs’s 5 month mark.  And then I felt terrible because I had not thought once about it all day!  I know this isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the monthly milestones have always been so important to me and I used to spend days thinking about them for the other two girls.  So the fact that I forgot, until mere moments before bed, made me feel so embarrassed!  Poor Sib.  Third child probs strike again.

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This month we’ve seen a lot of rolling, back and forth for our girl, although she will still only do it when she feels like it.  And for some reason, she most often gets the urge in the middle of a sleep cycle.  This has accounted for many interrupted nights for both of us (fortunately she goes back to sleep pretty quickly and I never offer her food during these middle of the night encounters, she’s usually happy with her pacifier).  And then her naps have also been affected.  She will usually take one long nap still a day, as well as cat-napping the rest of the day; but I’m never sure when this nap will take place, so we are still trying to settle into a rhythm.  All that to say, I’m here to tell you: The four month sleep regression is real.

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All this rolling has really toned up her core and she can do so much more now because of it!  She can grab her toes and completely hold her head up, she can sit–almost–for a few seconds at a time, and we’ve even introduced the Jumperoo and johnny jump-up (my older two girls’ favorite) because of this.

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The doctor said she’s working on some teeth and I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the drool.  She’s also chewing on things she can bring to her mouth like her leather paci clip and her fingers.  My other two girls used to suck on their thumb a bit right around the four month mark but Sibby prefers the first two fingers on her right hand.  I think it’s cute because for some reason it reminds me of the little baby in Baby Dear.

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This month we moved her fully over into her crib and I think she’s enjoying all of the space to..well roll, and I am finding myself going in her room often to pry her limbs out of the slats.

Several people have commented how this month, especially, she has lost a lot of her infant look and I have to agree.  She is also getting pretty vocal (screechy/screamy is our least favorite!), and is recognizing family members’ voices.  Her strawberry locks have completely vanished this month (I honestly think it was the cradle cap??), and she looks bald but really she has quite a bit of snowy white hair growing in.  She is following in the hair department of MG and also looks as well!

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I’m trying to enjoy every moment with this sweet one, middle of the night meet-ups and all.  Five months is when it starts to sound farther away from the baby mark and closer to the one year mark.  I feel so thankful for this precious, healthy girl that God has let me nurture and pray everyday that I can do a good job of it.  I’m trying to relish the baby days while also looking forward to all the fun to come.  Last babies are a particular challenge with this tension but I’m determined to carry it well…forgotten milestones, notwithstanding.

-smk

Four Months

First *a quick apology* for the lack of updates as of late.  We are officially Mason-Dixon residents and have been now for almost 3 weeks.  I have not written anything, not for lack of desire nor anything to say, but I am still trying to figure out my new life here and how writing fits into all of that.  Writing our family story is important to me, so I know it’s something I will continue to work out as I try to balance school life, baby life, toddler life, new state life, and new home life <<sigh, but a happy one>>.

In the midst of all of this, Sibby turned 4 months today.

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Four months still sounds “little baby”-ish to me so that makes me happy that not too much of her life has passed in what has felt like an eternal transitory time.  But it’s also old enough that is she becoming somewhat predictable yet not rigid and also not exploring yet.  Perfect timing for getting adjusted to life here before she takes off.

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God was merciful to me when He gave us this thirdborn.  She really is a dream baby; only cries when she’s tired or hungry (and it’s pretty easy to figure out which).  She is pleasant when awake and can be stretched beyond her hunger or tiredness when distracted.

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No new milestones this month save for a random roll-over (belly to back).  She attempted a few more times after but scared herself straight.  I’M FINE WITH SLOW MILESTONES RIGHT NOW. Wait, scratch that.  As of this morning, she rolled over belly to back and then back to belly twice!!

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The lack of forward movement has meant the delicious rolls on her arms and legs have stuck around for another month.  She does have a pretty steady neck now though, and those rolls can sweat like none other, if not placed on a breathable surface (like an arm, anything polyester, or her carseat).

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She still takes a paci but usually doesn’t sleep with it.  When she is hungry, she makes a coughy-gaggy sound like my other two did in between cries.  We’ve attempted to give her her FIRST bottle this month (I know, I know mommy FAIL.  Pumping has been extremely low on my priority list right now!) and she hasn’t quite taken to it (or I should say, all three, as we’ve tried three different versions).  Looks like we need more practice!  One minor thing she HAS added this month though, is her ability to bring her paci to her mouth using her grasping fingers.  Hard work for hand-eye coordination!

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The one thing that I’m still trying to figure out for Miss Sib is her nap schedule.  It seems her ideal is to take one or two cat naps in the morning and then a long 3-4 hour afternoon nap, followed by perhaps another cat nap before bed.  This is great with me except her afternoon nap falls right around the time I pickup MG from school.   So frustrating to have to wake her up and then try to settle her back in again after we are literally gone from the house for 40 min, maybe.  This has vexed me so much that I’ve been running through countless solutions and one I’ve found recently is to pay a homeschooled neighbor to come sit at the house for me.  So far it seems like the best solution.

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Still, it seems general consensus for the third babies is that they just have to nap on the fly and are at the mercy of their older siblings’ schedules.  Builds character, they say.  And I guess where the third children’s easy going nature gets its reputation.

Finally, perhaps her best quality is that my loving, angel third baby sleeps through the night.  And when I say sleeps through the night, I mean I lay her down at 8pm and she wakes up at 7am. I would say it’s a fluke, but she’s been doing it now for almost this entire month. (and don’t hate me, fellow moms of newborns, just remember what the rest of my life has looked like this month.  We all have our crosses to bear :))

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I still often lovingly refer to her as “the baby”and I think I’m convincing myself of it…although last week I did bring up baby names for the first time in a long…(and I got two nods of approval!)  Still, I can’t say I’ve ever felt more ready to stabilize and not add any more change in for a long, long, long time.

-smk

 

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