Monday, 24 September 2012

Watch Me Grow - Eighteen Weeks

My little girl turned the big 1-8 this weekend. Luckily it was just eighteen weeks - not eighteen years. The thought of that gives me a heart attack. So lets not talk about it ok? Ok good, thanks.

I mentioned in The Fourth Month post last week that she's started rolling over. She celebrated her four month birthday by rolling over three times that morning. And she hasn't stopped since. Pretty much any time I lay her down on the ground now (or in her crib - oy!) she immediately tries to roll over - and she usually succeeds. She is constantly on her belly now and she can stay there for up to ten to fifteen minutes! Then she usually gets a bit frustrated and hasn't learned how to roll back to her back yet (consistently that is, she's done it once or twice by accident) so I have to help her. And as soon as I turn away she is back on her belly again!

This is much of what our morning looked like while I was trying to get some photos! Silly girl :)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Fourth Month

Yesterday Kaitlin turned four months old.

I know I say this every month (ok, ok - every week) but how has it been four months already? It goes by too, too fast.

Kaitlin had a big month. She learned how to (FINALLY) roll over - in fact she celebrated her four month birthday by rolling over three times yesterday! I got her first real giggle out of her last week (and have heard lots of "half" giggles since then). She is reaching for and holding toys, sitting up in her bumbo and jumping like a rockstar in the jumperoo. Her leg strength amazes me. I know every mom says this but she must be the strongest four month old around.

She found her feet and learned how to blow raspberries. The amount of drool coming out of her mouth has increased ten fold. She started sitting in the big kid stroller seat and has started "talking" a lot during the day, and not just when she's tired anymore. All of these amazing things in just one month!

Her sleep is still a bit wacky, although for the last week she has finally started sleeping 7-9 hours in a row again (it only took 6 weeks to get back on that schedule) at night, for which I am grateful. After a pep talk from our pediatrician yesterday I am going back to nap and sleep basics. Once again I had found myself doing too many things to try and get her to sleep - I have to remember less is more.

the many faces of KLC, part 3

Our little girl is growing up to be a tall girl! She measured in at 25" yesterday and is in the 90% for height at her age! Her weight is still on the low end, only measuring in the 20%. The doctor wasn't concerned about her height/weight ratio just yet but would like to see her pack on some more weight before she starts solids (how is she old enough for us to be having the conversation about solids?!) These days she is pretty distracted while eating - pausing to look around, give me a smile or just plain take a break. I am trying to figure out if my supply is low (one bad thing about breast feeding is you never know how much they are getting to eat) or if she is just a slow, slow eater and needs more time to get all her calories in. I am trying to increase my supply just to make sure I have enough of what she needs. I'm increasing the amount of water I drink, calories I eat (ok, ok - I'll have another cookie!), adding more pumping sessions a day and am going to try a couple old wives tales - like eating oatmeal and drinking a beer. Hopefully with all these little changes we can get our girl up to a good weight at her next check up so we can start with solids!

A few more things I have learned...

Get Involved
Over the last couple of months we have been getting out and visiting with friends who have babies and attending a moms group at one of the local hospitals. I never realized how important this was until I started getting out there. It is so, so important to have a network of friends and other moms in your situation who can relate and offer some advise or just an ear to listen. The moms group that I am a part of also has a Facebook page where people are constantly asking questions, venting their frustrations and offering things to do and organizing meet ups. It is such a great feeling to be part of an online community (as well as a real life one) with a bunch of people who are all in the same boat as you. I think many times we as new parents, and especially as stay at home moms (and dads), we tend to block out the outside world in search of the perfect nap schedule/feeding habits/whatever-the-problem-of-the-day-is and think that we are the only ones having these problems. In reality there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people going through the same thing. It's nice to connect with those people every once in a while - if only to confirm that no, you are not crazy :)

Write Everything Down
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have a terrible memory. Ask me what I did yesterday and you'll probably get a blank stare. I know it involved a lot of diapers though. My memory was pretty crap before I had a baby and now you can just forget about it. So in addition to keeping track of Kaitlins eating, pooping and sleeping habits (yes, I am STILL recording all of this information) I have learned to write down as many memories as I can. That is one reason why I love having this blog. Ten years from now I won't remember exactly when she first rolled over or flashed me that first non-gas-related smile, but thanks to this blog I will. When I was pregnant I had the foresight to order a journal to help me write down these memories. This is the one I settled on because it wasn't daunting. It is so much easier to write a sentence or two each day rather than try and come up with a lengthy entry. I highly recommend it for all new moms (and dads!) and the best part is it keeps records for five years! I can't wait to have show this to Kaitlin when she is all grown up.

There is no definitive answer
In parenting there are SO many questions that I ask myself each day. Some of them are relatively easy - Does she have a dirty diaper? Is it time for a nap? Is it time to eat? Many of them though, are not. Why is she making that grunting noise all the time? Why didn't she sleep for longer than 30 minutes? Should I get rid of the swaddle? What's the best way to do x, y and z? I could go on and on. I have plenty of parenting books, am glued to parenting blogs and websites and ask my fellow mommy friends a million questions. And yet, I have found, there is no definitive answer for every question. Because each baby is so different, what works for one might not work for yours. And because each parent is different, what worked for one might not work for you. As much as I want this parenting thing to be black and white, cut and dry, I am slowly learning that it is not. Talk about 50 shades of grey. So I take the advise that I get from all the books, blogs and parents that I can get and try a few of them out. Some of them work, some of them don't. And at the end of this parenting gig (is it ever really over?) maybe I'll write my own book. But I can't guarantee it'll work for you ;)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Watch Me Grow - Seventeen Weeks

On Saturday Kaitlin turned seventeen weeks old, and week seventeen was a big one!

She's been a busy girl, last week she learned how to...

1. ROLL OVER!! WHOOHOO! After 9 weeks of trying she finally got there! Granted, she's only done it once, but I'll take it! She finally got enough momentum to get her whole body flipped from back to front. Her arm was still in the way but she didn't let it bother her this time, she pushed herself up with her one free arm and up she went! I, of course, was shouting and laughing and celebrating and she just looked at me like I was a crazy person (as she usually does). So, it's just happened the one time, but now we know she can do it!

2. Grab at the hanging toys on her play mat - this is also an exciting one, because it means that her hand-eye coordination is getting better. Previously, when she was laying on her play mat, she would bat at the hanging toys but not really connect with them and most of the time she just laid there and stared at them. Last week she started intentionally grabbing at the toys and even playing with them! One of them is a rattle and she grabbed ahold of it and was shaking it back and forth, staring at it intently. I did my little happy dance in the corner this time so she wouldn't look at me funny.

3. LAUGH - this might be the most exciting one of all, the one I have been waiting for! Kaitlin loves to look in the mirror and I show her her reflection a couple of times a day. I also talk to her while she's looking in the mirror, asking her who she sees (even though she has no idea that the person she is looking at is herself). This time I did it while making some really funny faces and voices and I got a giggle out of her! Most of the time when she is trying to express that she's happy she lets out a little screech with a smile. She time I managed to get a big smile and a little giggle - I instantly turned into a puddle on the ground. I got a couple of giggles out of her and then she was over it. I tried later that afternoon (and every day since then) to get more giggles out of her but so far she's been keeping quiet. I can't wait to hear more!

With all of these developments this week she has been sleeping a lot better at night, which I am thankful for. We are still having a hard time getting her to fall asleep at night, but once she is out she is asleep for 7-9 hours at a stretch. She has her FOUR MONTH check up this week (!!!!) and another round of shots. I can't wait to hear what the doctor has to say and I have about 9405894852098 questions for her, so it should be a good visit!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Watch Me Grow - Sixteen Weeks

This picture sums up every minute of Kaitlins day this past week...

Yes, my friends, blowing bubbles has taken a back seat to playing with her feet and toes. She discovered them last weekend and has not been able to put them down since. She is obsessed. And she is finding out that she can get them pretty darn close to her mouth, so I see drool covered toes in our very near future. This is actually a really good development. Every time she lifts her legs and feet up she is working her ab and back muscles. As they grow stronger she will be better able to roll over and sit up (and eventually crawl and walk - yikes). She's getting really good at pulling her socks off too.

Also! We have a roller!! Ok, so she's not rolling from back-to-tummy yet, but a couple times during the week she rolled from tummy-to-back. Purely by accident, but a roll is a roll! The important thing is that she gets used to the sensation of rolling. As for the back-to-tummy roll we are still stuck in the same place - she can get her WHOLE body rolled around except for her head and her right arm. She's too busy sucking on her hand so her arm gets stuck in the way. She doesn't seem too bothered though so I'll just keep helping her along so she gets used to the full motion. She'll figure it out one of these days!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Are you the Mom you thought you'd be?

Are you the Mom (or Dad, if there are any guys reading this blog) you thought you would be?

I'm not.

Not yet, at least.

The mom I thought I would be had it all together. I would know my daughter and be able to meet her every need. I would hear her cry and know exactly what was wrong and how I could fix it. The mom I thought I would be was no nonsense. No pacifiers, no white noise, no other "crutches" to lean on. I would take my daughter on walks, to the park and on errands effortlessly and efficiently. The mom I thought I would be was going to make her daughter a part of the family, not the center of it. I wouldn't bend to every demand and give in to every request. I was an advocate for date nights and vacations for just my husband and I, stressing the importance of leaving your child in the care of others (others you trusted, of course) early on so they get used to it. I knew this parenting thing was going to be hard, but "I got this" I thought.

And then I had a baby.

And reality smacked me upside the head.

Most days you can find me at home, a slave to an always work-in-progress nap schedule. Walks? Park outings? Errands?! Good luck. I still can't tell the difference between most of Kaitlin's cries. Instead I rely on how long its been between feedings, time since her last nap and that ever present blue line on her diaper to guide me as to what her cry might mean. And if none of those things are the reason behind the screaming I'm usually at a loss. I held on to my "no pacifier" rule for two weeks, until her second check up at the pediatrician. After hearing her scream for the whole appointment the doctor put her hand on my should, looked me in the eye and said, "Use the pacifier. You'll all be a lot happier." And we were. And now I can't stop using it. White noise? I've got the volume turned up and know just when to dash upstairs to press the sound button on the Sleep Sheep before it turns off (god forbid it turn off after only one 40 minute cycle. It's too soon - TOO SOON!)

I have yet to run the vacuum or drier all night long, so that's a win.

My husband and I have only been on dates when our families were in town. Finding a babysitter is on my "to-do" list but I keep putting it off. And the idea of taking a vacation by ourselves?? Without the baby?? The idea grips me with fear and yet is something that I yearn for. The reality is I don't know how to trust anyone with my baby. My baby girl. How am I supposed to find someone - a stranger - whom I trust enough to leave my baby girl, my whole world, with for a few hours (let alone a whole weekend). The biggest downside to living far away from our family and friends, no instant babysitters. I'm sure one day we will have the grandparents watch her for a weekend, maybe even a whole week, but the thought of it stresses me out. Will they know what to do when she cries? Will they keep her bedtime routine? Will she scream bloody murder the whole time that we are gone? I seem to have forgotten that they raised five kids between the four of them...I think they got this.

What I forgot to take into account when I was dreaming up this cool, calm, collected life I was going to have with a baby, was that my baby was going to have a personality all her own. She was going to have her own agenda, and for now, that takes priority. I didn't think she would be strong willed and stubborn. I didn't know that sleep (or lack thereof) would consume my life. I didn't know that it would take time, lots of time, for our two personalities to gel together. I didn't know that I was going to be a control freak (although my type A tendencies should have clued me in).

So, to make a long story even longer, no - I am not the Mom I thought I would be. I'm far from it. But it's something I'm working on, every day. And you know it, it's ok. I know that I'm a good mom, and I suppose that it the most important part. 

Maybe one day I'll be that cool, calm, collected parent I always thought I would be. But for now, you can find me in the nursery begging Kaitlin to take the pacifier while putting the Sleep Sheep on repeat ;)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Watch Me Grow - Fifteen Weeks

Sometimes it seems like Kaitlin will literally wake up, from a nap or a night of sleep, and just know how to do something new. Case in point - this week she woke up from a nap and started blowing "raspberries" or bubbles. I had never heard her do it before and suddenly it's all she wanted to do. She is learning and growing so much every day it blows my mind.

She is getting so good at blowing bubbles now. She wants to practice every minute she can, including at 3 o'clock in the morning after she wakes up to eat. And while it is extremely adorable to watch her do this, with rivers of saliva running down her face (and clothes and sheets) I could probably skip the 3AM practice sessions. Her new nickname is Slimer. I didn't think it was possible for so much spit to come out of such a tiny human being. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like when she starts teething.

Other things she learned this week? She learned she can put a lot of pressure on her feet and legs and push off. Brian helped her figure this out last weekend in the jumperoo and now she can't get enough of it. In the beginning her legs were really mushy and wobbly. But now that she has been working on it for a week her legs have gotten really strong! I'm really surprised at how quickly she builds up muscle. So now we have a jumping drool machine on our hands - and she couldn't be cuter!