first

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

Saturday

What’s a Saturday if not for

sleeping in?

eating a hearty breakfast?

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(Bea’s first time to try “real” food.  She seemed to like the taste on her fingers but found the texture a little “shudder-worthy”.  We did our own version of Baby-Led-Weaning with MG and plan to do the same with Bea.  The cues that she’s been giving us are getting grabby around food, using her hands to bring objects to her mouth, and she doesn’t always seem completely full after nursing.  I know, just looking at those cheeks makes you think she’s probably half-starved, right?? :))

painting tiny finger and toes “I want PINK, Mommy!”

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crunching through piles of dried leaves while finding a brand new running route (and waving hello to some familiar faces….I love this town!)?

eating hot dogs at a football game (MG and Daddy)?

taking naps and catching up on computer work (Mommy and Bea)?

This is our first full Saturday in our new house and it’s been a while since we’ve had a true “lazy” Saturday.  We’ve got more family time on tap for tonight including a bonfire.  Can’t wait!  Feeling blessed to be settling into our new normal.

 

First Day

Even though I knew this day was coming (since I willingly imposed it upon myself last spring), it hasn’t been any easier to face.

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Today is the first day of “school” for MG for the rest of her life.  Okay technically it’s only pre-school (or is it Mother’s Day Out?) and technically it’s only one day a week.  But still.  It feels monumental.

We’ve been prepping her for this big change for quite some time.  In fact, the main reason I want her to go is so she can become more independent & comfortable in group settings.  Developing a relationship with authority (other than ourselves) and with other children.  The main focus of the year for her little ten person class is playing with each other.  Brilliant.

But I will miss her.  Much.  My biggest fear is that I will look back on this year with regrets.  That I will regret the one morning a week that I willingly gave her up.  That I will wish this time back.  But then I look at little Bea and remember that she needs me too.  Being the good baby that she is and the second one at that, she rarely sees me other than to eat and cuddle these days.  We need a quiet morning with baby activities to enjoy together.  Especially now that she is getting on 4 months and about to start scooting (eep!).

It will be good, right?  For all of us, right?

Because it is the FIRST day and I am a huge, huge sucker for tradition  I couldn’t let today slip by unnoticed.   I carefully handcrafted her lunch, complete with a message on a napkin…of the artistic variety…because cats are her love language…

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At breakfast, I prayed a special blessing over her and for a great school year.  I held out her two little pro-biotic vitamins (because we narrowly escaped the Norovirus last year and I am quite certain it is knocking at our door this year) and let her choose which one she wanted.  The cat won again.

We drove to school and we practiced saying her teacher’s name and what to do if she needed to potty and how to handle a little boy that bothers her (you should hear her say “stop” in her “mean” voice).  Then she randomly brought up the time she had to get her “picture taken by the blue man”

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(i.e. her follow up x-ray for her broken collarbone).  Perhaps this was her way of emoting her fear–by bringing up another time she was afraid.

Once at school, she proudly placed her backpack and lunch in her designated cubby.

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I kissed her goodbye at the door and told her I was so proud of her.

 

I watched her through the picture windows to see how she would respond.

 

My little lone soldier went immediately to the slide (didn’t she learn anything from the blue man incident :)?)

And then she spotted IT

 

And I knew she would be okay.

Later, the preschool director sent me this:

 

All is well for my little student 🙂

And of course I couldn’t let this day get away without a video tribute. So here you go:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/73867871%5D

MG first day of school from Kate Miley on Vimeo.

 

Dedicating our Bea

Last Thursday (we go to church on Thursday night so we can save Sunday for an entire day of family), we had our Sweet Bea dedicated at church.

As I was laying out the clothes for the girls (smocked of course 🙂 :)).  I contracted a case of the butterflies.  This is one of those days in your child’s life that you only get to do once.  It takes up an entire page in their baby book, and is one of those milestone events that you will someday explain to them.  The fact that we’ve been able to do this now twice is simply put: a dream come true.

That night we stood on the stage physically in front of a few family and friends, but also spiritually beneath a great cloud of witnesses, both on earth and those who have passed before us.  They will hold us accountable to the promise we made that night to raise our Bea in a home that honors, loves, and obeys the LORD and teaches her to do the same.  We will.

Before we were called to the stage, the evening opened with worship and the team belted out the most beautiful country version of “I’ll Fly Away”.  This was the first time MG was in the service with us, but I am proud to say she was able to sing along as this is in our nightly bedtime lullaby rotation.  As I watched her sing with Daddy encircling her, clapping her hands, looking down at sweet Bea resting in my arms, I was overcome with emotion.

 

This, this is what I imagine, pray, dream Heaven to be.

May you follow us there, dear girls,