Sunday, 24 June 2012

Watch Me Grow - Five Weeks

Last week was a big week for Kaitlin. She can now find her hand 99% of the time and accurately shove it into her mouth (with that development also came a lot of drool). She is making quite a few noises now - there is a lot more cooing going on as she finds her voice. It's so nice to hear a noise other than crying :) And probably the most fun development last week was she started smiling! Early in the week I thought I got her first real smile - her whole face lit up when I was talking to her and eating her cheeks (pretend eating her cheeks - obviously). But since it was just the one time I had my doubts that it was, in fact, a "real" smile. But every since then anytime I am talking to her in a really happy voice, smiling at her like a crazy person she gives me smiles back. And they are different from the smiles that I get when she is drunk off of milk and/or letting one rip. Happy days!

Another big thing we started this week was to try and get into a sleep/eating routine. Now I know that you can't make an infant go on a schedule, but I have heard time and time again that babies/kids crave routine. Routine makes things easier for mom and baby both. Moms can take confort in knowing roughly how their day will go and what times the baby will need to sleep and eat. Babies take comfort in the stability that a routine provides. And this type-A mom definitely craves a routine that will help makes sense of the endless cycle of sleeping/eating/crying. Needless to say it wasn't exactly a smashing success. I would say it worked about 50% of the time. But thats the thing with routines - you have to keep at it. A routine only develops over time. So if one day our routine goes to hell and I am feeling discouraged I just have to remember - tomorrow is a new day. 

And on a totally different note - seriously, how cute are these socks?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The First Month

Today we get to celebrate two milestones. The first is our second wedding anniversary (check out my post over on The Traveling Cupcake for more on that). The second is Kaitlin's one month birthday.

Ok, ok - I know I just posted an update on Saturday about her turning four weeks old. But when your very first baby celebrates her very first month of life, you have to document it. Am I right?

I know I am still very new at this whole being-a-mom thing. Some days are good, some days are not as good. And I am learning so much each and every day. But I would like to think that we are leaps and bounds ahead of those first few days...even the first couple of weeks.

Things I have learned...(and a few tons of cute pictures)

Take a shower
I have managed to take a shower every single day since she was born. I consider that quite an accomplishment. It's important to me that I make time every day to do this. It makes me feel sane. It makes me feel like me again. Sometimes it's five minutes, sometimes its a half hour - it doesn't really matter the length of time, what matters is that I get a few minutes to myself every day and leave the bathroom feeling like me again. I might not get a chance to dry my hair, or put real clothes on - or heck, even put deodorant on - but at least I'm clean.

Things can change in an instant
Literally, it can take just one second for things to change around here.  The baby can be sleeping so quietly and peacefully one minute and the next be in a total meltdown. And the opposite - she can be having a total meltdown one minute and be perfectly calm the next. One minute she's starving, eating as fast as she can, and the next minute she is pushing herself away from me with a sigh that says "Oh my god I'm stuffed!" One minute there is peace and quiet around the house, the next its complete mayhem. One thing that doesn't change though is how awesome it is to have her here and it is to be a mom, chaos or not.

Trust your instinct
Ok, I am still trying to work on this one. Like, all the time. I have so many self doubts as a new mom and it doesn't help when there are a million and one "right" and "wrong" ways to raise your child in countless books and on the internet. What I have learned though is to go with my gut. And if my gut has no idea what to do? Ask. Ask people that I trust what to do, or what they have done in the past, or what they think I should do. I might not always listen to them, but it helps me gather more information to make a decision that I am comfortable with. Which leads me to my next point -

Ask for help
I am really bad at doing this, but I am trying to get better. I try to do it all, all the time. Baby or not I have always been like that. But sometimes I need to ask for help. Sometimes it is more important for me to cuddle with Kaitlin than do a load of laundry. Ask for help around the house. Ask for help when you don't know what to do. Ask for help when you think you know what to do but just want to double (and triple) check. Ask for help when you just need a break. People, I have learned, are happy to help.

Again, something I am still working on every day. Didn't get time to go to the store/run an errand/brush your hair? Let it go. Accidentally ignored a dirty diaper for a couple hours until your child was screaming because she hates sitting in her own mess? Let it go. I'm a new mom. Brian is a new dad. We are going to make mistakes, forget to do things, set impossible goals for ourselves and continue to fall short. Let. It. Go. Kaitlin will still love us (hopefully, stay tuned for the next lifetime to see if that happens), I will still love Brian and he will still love me. We'll get through it, we always do.

Enjoy every minute of it
This must have been the most popular piece of advice I received from friends, family and strangers. But you don't really embrace it until you are living it. Enjoy every minute of your baby being, well, a baby. You only get to do this once, relish every minute of it. Even when Kaitlin is having a complete meltdown, her face is beat red, tears streaming down her face and I can't figure out for the life of me what the heck is wrong - I still love it. Love it in a hate it kind of know what I mean. Mostly I love it because when she is older I can rag on her about what a monster she was (at times). But really though, I love it. This is what memories are made of - the good and the bad. The new and the old. The fun and not so fun...

...And lots of dirty diapers.

real life

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Watch Me Grow - Four Weeks

Four weeks old?! 


How on earth does that happen? Someone please tell me.

I feel like this past week has been particularly awesome. Kaitlin has been a rock star - she really doesn't cry too much anymore (of course she still cries quite a bit - she is a newborn after all) and we have really started to get into a groove. I am starting to see patterns in her eating and sleeping, which helps to create some sort of routine for both of us.

I'm pretty sure she went through a growth spurt at the end of the week - apparently three weeks is a big time for growth in babies - because she was eating like a champion. My new name for her is hungry hungry hippo, she's definitely packin' on the ounces which is what we like to see! I'm going to get her weighed this week at the doctors, it will be interesting to see how much she has gained since her last visit!

I can't believe that she is going to be ONE MONTH OLD on Tuesday - what an AMAZING month it has been!

My sister has been in town for a few days this week and it's been GREAT! She has done an awesome job at babysitting and has been a huge help around the house. It has been so nice to have an extra set of hands around here to help out during the day...and it's even better since it's my sister! My in-laws will be here next week which will also be great - more help around the house and we are SO excited for them to meet their granddaughter!

Kaitlin has developed and grown a lot this week. She is throwing out smiles left and right (I'm sure they are still just because of gas but I'll take it!) and she has started making little noises other than crying. She's discovering her tongue more and more each day and is starting to get the hang of putting her fist in her mouth - on purpose and not just on accident like before. We have had lots of tummy time this week and her neck is getting a lot stronger. I can't wait to see how she continues to grow and develop over the next few weeks and months - it's going to be awesome!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Watch Me Grow - Three Weeks

As I write this I am watching Kaitlin sit so quiet and peacefully in her swing, watching mommy type on the computer.

In these last three weeks I have learned to appreciate these times of quiet and make the most out of every minute.

She is three weeks old today - amazing!

Sometimes I feel like she must be three or four months by now, and other times I still can't believe that she is already here and is ours to keep forever (and ever and ever...)

This was a big week for Kaitlin and I - we were on our own for the first time. My mom and dad left last weekend and Brian is back to work. It was just me and the baby. And you know what? We did just fine on our own! Thats not to say that I wasn't thrilled when Brian arrived home each night so he could take over for a little bit, but it wasn't nearly the disaster I thought it was going to be. This week gave me a lot of confidence in being a new mom - we even ventured out to the Doctors office and the grocery store all on our own, and made it back in one piece (sort of)!

Kaitlin had her two week check-up this week and I would have to say this was the hardest part of the week. Not only is the doctors office freezing cold (and she has to sit there in her diaper while she gets checked out) but we were there forever waiting to get her foot pricked for blood samples. This did not make for a happy baby and she screamed and cried the entire time we were there (and then some). But the results were good - she has gained back all the weight she lost in the hospital and then some, she is now a whopping 7lb 4oz! Which means that for all the trouble we have had nursing she is getting enough to eat- a huge confidence boost for me - we are doing it! And she has grown over an inch since she was born and now measures 21 1/4". Slowly but surely she is getting bigger!

At the recommendation of the pediatrician I started "training" her on recognizing days from nights in an effort to get her to sleep better at night (after a few melt downs we had while my parents were here in the wee hours of the morning). I try to keep her awake for a short time after feedings during the day, and at night I keep the nursery dark and put her back to bed right away, while she is still in her food coma. Now this system hasn't been perfect but it is definitely starting to work. Except for last night. Apparently Kaitlin likes to party and stay up late on Friday nights. But hey - at least it was a Friday night.

Another new development we tried this week was giving her a pacifier to help calm her down when she goes in to melt-down mode. I really did not want to give her a pacifier ever this early (nursing is a big enough challenge, I didn't want to add nipple confusion into the mix as well) but it was a good call. We are getting better at catching her before she goes into melt-down mode, but when she does the pacifier definitely helps. She has a major sucking reflex and is constantly trying to suck on her hands, fingers, swaddle - anything she can get ahold of. Until she has better control of her hands (so she can suck on that instead) the pacifier helps sooth her. My other big concern about a pacifier was getting her "hooked" on them, and having to face the nightmare later on of weening her off it.  What I have realized is that the "danger" of getting the baby hooked on their pacifier is more the parents problem then the babies. Our Pediatrician said as long as we start to take it away by three months she shouldn't get hooked on using the pacifier, she will learn other ways to self sooth. The key is not to give her a pacifier every time she starts to cry - which is a tough lesson to learn. It becomes so easy to just pop it in her mouth every time she starts to cry, when I need to remember to check for other things that might be making her upset. Is she hungry/tired/have a wet diaper? Is she too hot/cold/bored/need attention? If all of these things are in check - or if I can tell that she is over tired and fighting sleep - then I try the pacifier. This will be a bigger lesson for mom and dad to learn rather than the baby, but we will get there. For now I am just glad to have a way to quiet her down and make her calm enough to go to sleep.

Since it has been just the two of us this week I have had a lot of bonding time with Kaitlin. While I loved her from the moment she was born, I feel like I have grown so close to her this week. I am starting to notice all the little noises she makes and facial expressions she has. We are better in tune with each other and are starting to have a rhythm to our day. We are having more fun together (well, at least I am, I can't speak for her) - going on walks and reading stories. And even when I am overtired and cranky and annoyed that I have to get up again in the middle of the night to feed her, all I have to do is take a look at her sweet little face and all of that frustration melts away.

And even if the day is a total disaster and we are all in pieces crying - at least we can find some hilarity in her explosive bowel movements, gas and insistence on dirtying the changing table as often as possible. Sometimes it's the little (stinky) things that get you through the day :)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Watch Me Grow - Two Weeks

Wow - two weeks old already?? I can hardly believe it. This past week was an exciting one - Gramma and Grampa Miller were here all week helping out, and boy did we need them! They did a great job making dinner and helping around the house, and especially taking care of Kaitlin during the late hours of the night when mom needed to get some sleep. It will be interesting not having them around this week!

Kaitlin is growing bigger and bigger every day. We have her two week check up this week with the Doctor, hopefully she is back up to her birth weight (considering she only lost 2.8% while she was in the hospital and she eats like a hungry hungry hippo it shouldn't be hard for her to get back up to weight!). Hopefully the Doctor will have a good report!