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.