Little E, 5 Months Old

Okay Emilia, MONTHLY UPDATE TIME … and your first of many to come, hopefully!! I have to say if I thought the first 5 months of McKenna’s life went fast, I was seriously mistaken. I feel like everytime I blink you are a week older. I know that this is because I am twice as busy this time around, what with chasing a toddler around and all, but.. holy cow. How did this happen!??

Eating – I have been nursing you since Day 1 and it has been going splendidly. I had some issues with nursing your sister in the beginning, and let me tell you, that is most definitely not the case with you. You took to nursing like a champ in the delivery room and haven’t looked back since. I have intentions of nursing you for a full year and see no reason why we will not reach this goal. The one thing we do need to work on is bottles!!! You pretty much refuse them but its my fault for not giving you them more often. Your Dad and I are determined to get you used to taking one to give me a bit of freedom, and I am sure if we are persistent, you will grasp it in no time :).

Sleep – You are a great sleeper!! You take 4 or 5 naps during the day that aren’t particularly long but when it comes to nighttime, you are a boss. Around 7 you start to get super fussy in anticipation of your big rest. You then sleep until 3 – 5 in the morning. We do have bad nights sometimes however, just as all babies do, but overall I can mostly count on you for a great sleep each night (thank goodness!).

Looks – You look almost exactly like your sister. Same great big blue eyes, same wispy blonde hair, same widows peak. You differ in a few slight ways – whereas your sister has adorable little dimples in her cheeks, you have a solo dimple right near your nose which may be the cutest little thing I ever did see. Your cheeks are slightly less chubby, and your skin is a little bit darker, but other than that the two of you would pass for identical twins by looking at pictures.

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E on the left, M on the right.

You are in size 2 diapers and weigh probably around 14.5 pounds. Your sister was 15.5 at this age :).

Milestones – You can roll both ways (for some time now) and when you are on your tummy, you have already started inching forward by pushing back with your feet. I am SO NOT READY for you to crawl (once again, that whole selfish wanting you to stay a baby for life thing) but it is about to happen. You also love your excersaucer and I plan to buy you a jolly jumper because you prefer standing to laying or sitting.

Personality -You love being outside and either fall asleep immediately or blabber my ear off as your sister and I hold hands walking around our favorite lake. You never ever cry when we are outside walking so it is always my fallback should you be having a fussy day.

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You are a super smiley baby which we love cause once again, that nose dimple of yours is oh so cute. You are mild tempered, and take a lot of cuddling and overcrowding from your older sister, who just adores you SO MUCH she has an issue giving you any personal space most days!! I love seeing the two of you together and hope that this bond that you are building so fast and so young will last the both of you a lifetime.

We love you so, our little E. Here’s to another month of true happiness!!!!

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xo,

Mama

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Fourteen Months

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It feels like these months are really starting to fly by. I ask again – weren’t you just born, like, yesterday? Anyways…

Sleep-wise, nothing much to report that wasn’t already covered this week. But now that you are sleeping like a rockstar, your nap schedule has become a little wonky. I think you are slowly transitioning to one nap and it’s kinda got you all messed up. You are exhausted by the time you take your usual morning nap but have SUCH a hard time falling asleep, so you stay awake until you are about ready to fall over at 1pm. I am letting you take the lead on this one because I feel with our upcoming vacation any routine that I may TRY and put in place will end in epic failure. So for now, you run the show.142

Food-wise, you eat anything we do and love MOST things. Things you won’t touch (a much shorter list than the stuff you will) include red peppers, strawberries, peas, and green beans.

We are down to nursing TWICE A DAY. You did this all on your own. You wake once at 5:30 AM(ish) and I nurse you then too.

The biggest news of this month is definitely that you are now WALKING. You can take upwards of 15 steps between rooms before settling down on your bum and crawling the rest of the way. I keep telling everyone that will listen that I’m sure you will take off running when you see the ocean next week (aka – give me a heart attack).

You know where your hair, nose, and bellybutton are. Three very random things, I know. But you are obsessed with the hair on my head (as in you love to pull it) and always reach up to yours when I ask where it is. Nose is a new development; until yesterday you were certain it was located on your ear. Bellybuttons are somewhat of an obsession around here.

You are still a little dancing machine, and love any upbeat songs that you can wiggle your bum too. You prefer when I have the radio on the pop station, but I can only listen to it for so long. You can handle alternative for a little bit, but my personal favorite, dubstep, does not seem to be a hit. Yet.

You LOVE dressup. If we leave ANY article of clothing on the floor you are trying to put it on your head, then you parade around as if you are doing a fashion show. You love to wear your Dad’s hat and my sunglasses most of all. Yesterday I witnessed you *trying* to put my boot on your foot. I look forward to many days spent playing dressup with you.144141

Your glockenspiel is still your favorite toy by far, and you bang on the keys until they fall off.

Still attached to your green fuzzy blankie, but thankfully any fuzzy blankie seems to do, as you quite often throw it on the floor outside causing it to be washed weekly. You also love pillows, and love being on your father and I’s bed and throwing yourself into them, laughing hysterically, until you are absolutely exhausted.

You are currently working on SIX TEETH at the moment, and who knows maybe more. You don’t let me get my fingers in far enough to feel if you are working on your molars yet, but we have definitely had a few difficult nights this month. Poor little bug.

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so. xo

We Did It!

A LOT of big changes are happening around here these days, and all occurred in less than a month:

  1. We are no longer co-sleeping;
  2. McKenna is sleeping through the night consistently; and
  3. She is down to 3-5 nursing sessions per day.

Whew. Even officially writing that down took a lot of emotion out of me.

Nursing and co-sleeping were definitely two of the main attributes I used to describe our style of parenting that first year. It was great – I loved everything about it.

Co-sleeping was one of those things that worked, until all of a sudden it just didn’t. And in true McKenna fashion, she never does things slowly. Instead of doing a slow transition from co-sleeping to independent sleeping, one day it just STOPPED. I slept in my room and she slept in hers.

I mentioned we had a slight regression along the way – and after reading many words of advice on Facebook and speaking with other mothers, I blame that regression on poor timing. I strongly feel as though McKenna was going through a growth spurt at that time, and it had nothing to do with our new sleeping arrangement.

But now, DARE I say the words I at times I never thought I would? Dare I take it a step further, and write it down for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE? That McKenna, is finally, consistently, sleeping through the night? ALL ON HER OWN?

Of all of the parenting challenges Matt and I faced in those first 365 days, sleeping was definitely the most difficult. It was SO up and down. We would have good months and bad months. Nights that had one or two wakeups and then nights that had sometimes upwards of 5. We struggled with what the books told us – that by 3 months, most children are fully capable of sleeping through the night (those children also likely fart rainbows). We struggled with what (some) of the experts said was the solution for those children who did not – the dreaded (in our household) cry it out method. We struggled with our own feelings of inadequacy anytime we faced a parent who spoke with pride about their babies who were in their own cribs, sleeping through the night at 6 months. It seemed nearly an impossible feat to accomplish, and as though it was nowhere in our near future.

But anytime the discussion was had, it was never decided upon that we should “Ferberize” McKenna. We do not judge those who choose this very effective sleep training method, because we are not in their houses when the sleep training occurs. We can only know what happened anytime we tried this method on our own baby – 3 or so times over the course of those twelve months in moments of severe desperation – and the result was terrified screams, shaking, and one dreadful, dreadful night when McKenna was ten months when she literally threw herself out of the crib. I thank God every day that our floor bed was beside to break her fall.

No, the Ferber method wasn’t for us. And thankfully, we were definitely on the same page when it came to that.

But yes, sleep. It was all over the place. I rarely complained – after all, I had an entire year off to nurture and care for her, and I had made a promise to myself that the first year would be all about McKenna. About establishing a comforting mother-daughter relationship wherein she felt secure and loved, and would truly trust me to take care of her needs. I still have no regrets about this decision, and fully intend to use this strategy with the next baby. And I honestly have to say I am amazed about how well I am able to function on broken up sleep. And Starbucks.

But at some point, that co-sleeping, nursing through the night relationship began to fail us. McKenna was no longer getting the quality sleep she needed, and instead of waking up and falling asleep immediately when nursed, she screamed and cried and reached for comfort, not milk, multiple times throughout the night.

That was when we knew it was time for the relationship to change.

I wish I could tell you an exact method we used to end co-sleeping, but there wasn’t really one. We simply stopped, and McKenna was ready. And trust me, we HAD definitely tried before, and she was NOT ready before. There was minimal crying (besides the growth spurt) and then there was just success. Continued success.

McKenna now goes to sleep every night at 7:30 PM after a consistent bedtime routine. She sleeps until 4:30-5:30 AM, awakes for a snack, and goes back to sleep until 8 AM. We are working at cutting out that last feeding, but if I’m being honest, I am in no rush.

Reason being is that although this is everything I wished, hoped and longed for.. I still miss those days. Those days where she was absolutely dependent on her Mama for sleep. I am really starting to think as motherhood as sort of a double-edged sword:  you are always wishing for something, and when that something comes true, you can’t help but long for those moments from before. In this particular situation, the moments I long for and will always miss are the late night cuddles. The nursing sessions, when it was just her and I awake in our quiet little household. Those moments of extreme bonding that I would never, EVER take back for ANYTHING.

But as I said before, my post about all of these FEELINGS (the feelings about the end of co-sleeping and the beginning of weaning) are to follow. They are too intense, and too important to not deserve their very own blog post.

But above all these feelings, I am so incredibly proud of my little. Proud of her father and I too, for never feeling forced to doing anything that was outside of our comfort zone. For sticking to our guns, listening to advice when necessary but only taking the particular parts of said advice and applying what we felt would work for our family to our real life situation.

Well done family. We did it :). Here is to many more nights of amazing sleep!

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13 Months

Well here we are.. another New Year, with a toddler!

I had anticipated I would feel like taking some time off from blogging for the Christmas season.. I did not however, plan to go an entire month without writing a thing! And so much happened that I need to recap, including your first birthday party with your family, your first birthday party with friends, our preparations for the Christmas season, followed by Christmas itself (which I have renamed “Pukemas 2013” – as we all were hit by a tummy bug sometime before, during and after Christmas). I hope I can recap all these events for you soon!

But first, your 13 month update must be done!

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I need to write a bit of a disclaimer here.. and that is, December was actually a pretty difficult month for you. You fell sick on the 21st.. it started with two days of a really high fever that I managed with Motrin. On day 3, your fever had disappeared but you woke up in the middle of the night and threw up multiple times. This BROKE your Mama’s heart.. you did not cry, you simply cuddled your Dad looking white as a sheet and so, so sad as I called the nurse on duty and made sure we could continue to care for you at home. The next day, you seemed much better, but alas, that only lasted Christmas Eve and by Christmas Day you had a dry cough, runny nose, and were just so rundown. Of course, during these days our routine fell completely by the wayside. You ate barely any solid foods and slept whenever you felt like – usually taking 6 or so 30 minute naps a day, sometimes more. The rest of the time you spent cuddled on your father or I’s chest, watching far more TV than usual. You are now JUST on the mend and getting back to your cheerful self, with 4 more teeth than you had before this awful cycle started.

Sleeping has changed considerably this month. We are almost finished co-sleeping entirely. This is amazing because I had a little seed of doubt planted in my mind that it would never happen. It is also very, very bittersweet because I absolutely loved our days of bedsharing. However, as you were approaching your first birthday I made a promise to myself to allow you to become more independent. And independent sleeping is  a HUGE step towards this goal. Granted, we are still working out some kinks from our new sleeping arrangements – some nights you wake up multiple times just needing to be comforted, and others I fall asleep beside you rather then head back to our room across the hall. But generally, our night generally starts with you going to bed at 7:30. You wake up around 12:30 to nurse, and then sleep till about 6:30 or so where I nurse you again. Our day starts shortly before 9 most days.

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You still either take one big nap from 11:30 till about 2:30, or two naps of about 1.5 hours each.

Now that you have gained back your appetite for solid foods, you are eating 3 solid meals a day, and 2 snacks. You like a great variety of foods but don’t eat anything you do not like – that usually goes on the floor for the puppy. I think you consider puffs to be a food group because you would happily snack on them all day if we would let you (we don’t).

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You only nurse before naps and bedtime, and the rest of the time you are offered whole milk in your sippy cup. I am very happy we were able to skip bottles all together! Just one less thing I need to think about taking away from you in the future (because it feels there is always *SOMETHING* I am supposed to be taking away from you).

You have a TON of new toys from your birthday and Christmas last month, which has enabled us to start *toy shuffling*. This means we have toys, brand new and boxed in the basement that you haven’t even played with which we intend to switch in when you start getting bored of the toys you have in your play area. Right now, your favorite toys include the glockenspiel you received for Christmas, your walker, and your play kitchen that Mum, Dad, Nanny and Papa gave to you for your first birthday. I love watching you play with all your toys, but your kitchen in particular – just yesterday I watched you intentionally put food in a pot, close the lid, place it on the stove (which makes bubbling noises) then take it off the stove once finished and empty the pot. I am patiently awaiting to be served three course suppers and watch you wash and put away the dishes afterwards (great practice for the future, too)!

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With us being in the middle of the cold of winter, we have been spending MUCH more time at home than we did in the summer. As such, it has now become a part of our routine to start off the day with a quiet cartoon (while Mama wakes up and feeds/lets out the dog). You love Cat in the Hat and Curious George most of all – when the theme song comes on you break into a huge smile and wiggle your little bum to the beat. It is aaaadorable!

Not walking yet, although you have taken one or two steps several times on your own to transfer between furniture or your Dad and I. I was told walking qualifies as 5 unassisted steps so we are patiently awaiting for you to take the leap, but at the same time allowing you the time you need to figure it out for yourself at a time that is most comfortable to you.

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You say many words – but NEVER on demand. Only when you feel like it – another sign of your streak of stubbornness. Words you have said include – mama, dada, hi, bye, book, and bubble. You still think puppy is said by popping your lips together … but no sound is yet to come out.

Speaking of the puppy, if it’s possible you are even more in love with her than before. Half of the time (maybe a little less) the love is reciprocated as she runs in circles around you and attacks you with kisses, the other half of the time she goes into another room to get away.

You have an obsession with soft blankets. You have a green fuzzy one that is still hands down your favorite, but if you are in a room with blankets or even soft articles of clothing you will gather them all to surround you and bring them with you everywhere.

You also still love your books and sit quietly flipping their pages and looking at the pictures as if you are memorizing them by heart.

You also now have a new little quirk where you like to take objects such as blankets or clothing and put them over your head so you can barely see in front of you. You then crawl furiously around the room laughing. You do this with your Dad’s hat too. You especially like chasing the dog when you do this and you think that you are absolutely hilarious. It is the funniest thing to watch but I have to run interference quite often to be sure you don’t run into any walls.

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 Here’s to another month and a brand new year!

xo

12 Months

Now that all the birthday excitement is starting to wear off (mind you, the party is not till the 15th so the celebrating is not over!), I have had some time to think about the fact that I now have a ONE YEAR OLD. And… I’m so excited! I spent so much time dreading this one year mark because it creeped up on me so fast, and was such an amazing year. But now that it is behind us, I am anticipating all that is to come. There are so many things you can do with a one year old that you just can’t with a 6 month old, and I look ahead to all these wonderful things.

So without further ado, here is a recap of the twelfth month:

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Things have been really good in the sleep department. Last month I mentioned that you had been sleeping poorly, inconsistently, and as a result we would be starting to transition away from bed sharing. Well, you must have been teething, or going through a growth spurt, because things have sorted themselves out again, meaning we are back to our 1 maximum 2 wakeups per night. Regardless, we started the transition into your toddler bed (yes, TODDLER bed. A post as to why I chose this strategy will come once the transition is complete) and it is going well, so we see no reason to move backwards.

The transition has been going rather smoothly, although slowly. This is as much for my benefit as yours – I love the cuddles. Currently, you start the night in your toddler bed, anytime between 7 & 8 PM. You wake up between 1:30 & 2 AM for a nursing session, and at this time I join you on the floor bed. You then wake up once more between 5:30 & 7, and after that we sleep until around 9 AM.

You take all of your naps in the toddler bed also, and you are still napping very well – except on the days that your Dad is home. For whatever reason, on those days our routine seems to go out the window, and you fight your naps until you are so exhausted you are crying. I guess you just love when he is home SO MUCH that you do not want to miss a single second!

On the days he isn’t home, you take two 1.5 hour naps. One around 11-12:30, and the second at 4-5:30. Some days you skip your morning nap; this always ends up with you sleeping from 1:30:-4:30ish. But most of the time you are consistent with your two naps.

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You eat pretty well most days, however, when we went to your one year appointment on Friday, your pedi mentioned a food regression at the one-year mark. I’m pretty sure you heard him say this, and being your little defiant self you started to reject a lot of your fruits and vegetables and eating only your protein, dairy and grains these past few days. This is causing me to be a little more creative and hide veggies/fruits wherever I can. I sure hope this is just a phase and that it passes. Quickly!

As for nursing, WE MADE IT. We hit the 12 month mark without much difficulty and are still going steady. That being said, your nursing sessions have reduced dramatically to only about 4 times a day, due to your increase in solids. I have started to offer you milk more frequently in your sippy cup, and you do drink it, but not enough to substitute the nursing sessions just yet. I don’t know if this is the beginning of weaning, but I am kind of just letting you take the lead on this one.

You’ve had your bottom two teeth for months, but it seems your FOUR top are due to make an appearance any day. They don’t seem to be bothering you too bad this time around, thank goodness.

You have officially become attached to your green fuzzy blankie. Funny how it happened almost overnight, but now you take every nap with it and will not go to bed until it is grasped tightly between your two little hands. You also like to hold on to it for the first 20 minutes or so when you wake up and cuddle with Mum or Dad. Once you let go, it is game on and you are ready to take on the world.

You are still crawling, although you can stand unassisted for several minutes at a time, but ONLY when you don’t notice yourself doing it. I think at this point this walking thing, it’s all mental. You have the capability to do it but are still overcoming some obstacles in your mind, and your father & I are not pushing you in any way. We trust you will do it when your ready, and then it will be GAME ON for us.

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You are obsessed with Cat in the Hat. The theme song in particular. I could put it on repeat and you would be mesmorized and smiling, glued to the TV all day. You squeal with glee whenever it comes on and wiggle your bum to the beat if you are standing.

You have started to dance when an upbeat song that tickles your fancy comes on. You have a love for a song by the New Politics called “Harlem” and it really gets your bum a wiggling. It makes me laugh everytime! You’ve got some moves, baby girl. We also still dance around the living room together frequently, and when this happens you erupt into giggles. Some of my favorite times spent.

You give open mouthed, drooly kisses, when you want to. You still try every day to say puppy, moving your mouth but alas, no sound has yet to come out. You also try to say “book” in the same fashion. You understand the words “no” “bedtime” “bath” “water” “puppy” “kitty” (and many more) and you anticipate what is to come or look for said puppy or kitty when I say these words.

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You wave goodbye when we or someone is leaving, and every night you wave hello at the moon before bed as a result of the little rhyme I have been saying for months. This warms my heart.

You have an obsession with books. They are definitely your favorite toys. You will sit quietly on the floor and turn the pages, staring at the pictures. Sometimes you babble while you do it, as though reading out loud :). I love witnessing moments like these.

You notice almost immediately if things are different or if something is out of place. For you, out of place means tidied and put away. For an example, you were given a box set of books from both your Auntie Chrissy and Auntie Leah for your birthday, 24 little board books in total. If I go to put said books back in the box, you immediately crawl over and pull them all out again. Another example: anytime I have a towel, hat, or book (for fun) on my head, you give me an annoyed look, stand up, then knock it off. You seem to like things in their place (what you define as “their place” – often on the floor) and it really bothers you when things are different. It is an extremely endearing quirk.

Looking forward to all that lies ahead for you, little one.

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Love you forever,

xo

 

Things that Surprised Me About Motherhood

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I am nearly 12 whole months into this parenting gig, and I have been spending a lot of time reflecting upon this past year and my journey into motherhood. A lot of things have surprised me, and I am prepared to be continually surprised as time goes on. But here is a collection of things from the first year that had me caught pretty off-guard:

It can be lonely. Majority of my days I feel fulfilled, just by spending time with McKenna. But there are days that come where I crave adult contact. My days are filled of McKenna and my nights are spent hanging out with Matthew. Majority of days, this is more than enough. But occasionally.. occasionally there is that pang of lonliness and longing for the days where I was a social being, having lunch dates and working with adults and going to bars and drinking on weekdays. The lonely days are definitely difficult but they are greatly outnumbered by the happy ones, and for that, I am grateful.

Breastfeeding is really hard (in the beginning). But then it gets really, really easy. I remember in those early days, I was in constant pain and just so, so frustrated. I remember thinking “how on EARTH can something that is supposed to be so natural, be so damn difficult?!”  It takes perseverance, patience, and on top of that a bunch of other factors related to health that are completely out of your control. But we stuck with it, and after awhile it became the easiest part of our day, and easily one of my favorite experiences from the journey thus far.

Everybody has an opinion. Oh. My. Gosh. The amount of unsolicited advice that I have received this past year is unreal! I understand that people have the best of intentions, but really? It is soooooooooooo annoying. You definitely learn to take it all in stride and sometimes, just bite your tongue. But man oh man, it is just the worst.

Parenting is a controversial subject. Everyone has their own opinion, their own story, their own way they think is right. But the bottom line is that every child is different. I have met so many mothers, and people, who have been so supportive and kind to me.. and then there are the others who I constantly feel are judging my choices. At the end of the day, we are all working our hardest to raise our babies the best we can. At the end of the day, we should all be in this together.

NOTHING went how I envisioned it. I never thought I would be the mum who adopted such parenting ideas as bedsharing, extended nursing, and baby led weaning, but those choices are some of the best parenting decisions I have made. Every baby is different and mine made it clear from the get go that a more natural, attachment parenting style worked much better for her, making for a better family as a whole.

It takes a village. And I am so thankful for ours. I will be doing a special post tomorrow about all of the people who have been detrimental to the success of Matthew & I’s journey into parenting. We want (and need) to personally thank all of the people who deserve to be thanked. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible.

I love her so much more than I could have ever imagined. You hear it all the time. About how you will fall in love with your child instantly and the attachment will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. To be honest, I LOVED McKenna instantly but I fell in love with her over time. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but suddenly, she was my everything. She was my purpose for being. She was my greatest creation, proudest accomplishment, and the absolute love of my life. And that connection has only deepened over time. Sometimes, I can’t even remember what life was like before her. Like she has just always been. But in a way, I am sure that is true, because she has always been a part of me, a part of my soul. A part of her father & I’s life plan long before we had even met, before I became pregnant.

To all you other mothers, what was your biggest surprise about motherhood?

11 Months

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I couldn’t decide whether to do your 11 month update today, or post your incredibly aaaadorable Halloween pictures and recap our fabulous night. I am going with the former, based on the fact that I am still in denial that my baby girl is 11 MONTHS today, which means in exactly ONE MONTH we will be celebrating your first birthday. What.the.heck. Maybe writing about it will help me come to terms with the fact? I doubt it, but hey, it’s worth a shot!

We had a really good month in October, in all areas BESIDES sleeping. Change is on the horizon – our sleeping situation just isn’t working anymore. You have been really inconsistent – some nights you sleep 6-8 hours straight, and others, you wake up to 5 times. Your father and I think it is now the time for you to gain more independence, and that this might be the key to consistent better sleep for us all. I am saddened at the idea of our cosleeping relationship coming to an end, but my Mama instinct is telling me it is time. I will be writing a more detailed post in the near future about the changes we plan to implement, and how they end up working.  Sigh… just another huge sign that my baby is growing up.

You still, however, nap easily and for long periods. Some days you take two naps – one in the mid-morning (around 10:30) and one later in the afternoon (around 3:30). If you skip your first nap that second nap is around 2.5-3 HOURS long. If you take both naps, each are about 1.5 hours. It’s amazing what a mama can accomplish when her baby sleeps so well during the day, so I thank you for that.

Eating-wise, you have gained quite the appetite this month. Whereas last month about 25% of the food on your tray actually entered your mouth, I would say that number has increased exponentially to about 80%. You seem to like everything – particular favorites still include WATERMELON (seriously baby, if you are what you eat, you are most DEFINITELY a watermelon), yogurt, tomatoes, eggs, crackers, cheese, broccoli, rice, pasta.. do you see what I’m getting at here? It brings a huge smile to my face to see you gulping down such healthy eats every single day. I am very happy you didn’t inherit your father’s dislike for vegetables.. now if we could just get him to eat as well as you….

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Still nursing, which means we are one month shy of our major goal – ONE YEAR! Woohoo! I still say this with such pride in you and I. I am still on the fence about weaning you at a year, as your father and I are currently having discussions which would allow me to *fingers crossed* stay home with you for the winter. If this is the case, I will continue to nurse you throughout. Our nursing relationship is easy, and I feel as though it is truly doing wonders for you, so I am in no rush to quit.

You are still a little music lover. Your days at KinderMusik are your favorites of the week. We are starting to collect a few musical instruments (shakers, tamborines, etc.) and those seem to be your favorite toys. You look at me with such pride when sound comes out of these toys, and it still has me convinced that you will continue to be a musical person well into your childhood, and maybe beyond. But of course, only if that is what you want to do.

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Your jumper, exer-saucer, playpen, and anything else that confines you are now 100 percent a thing of the past. You spend your days when we are at home exploring each room. Your father and I have opted for an open play space for you, and simply child proof along the way. I am finding it a blessing these days that our house is so small as you are never to hard to find, or catch for that matter.

You still love to pull all the DVDs off the shelf, but now that you can stand and reach simultaneously, you pull ALL of them down. I feel as though I am constantly replacing them, but as previously noted, it keeps you busy, brings you joy, and can’t really hurt you… so the DVDs stay.

You crawl (more like stomp) everywhere, fast. You can stand independently for a few seconds before falling on your bum. You can stand holding onto an object for hours. You pull yourself up on EVERYTHING. You are using your walker to motor around the room, but no sign of walking QUITE yet. This is just fine with me, as I am quite content you staying my little baby for as long as possible.

You are making a real effort to talk these days. You try as hard as you can to mimic our mouths when we say several words – such as puppy, kitty, water, to name a few. You move your lips but no sound has come out quite yet.

You have become a little more of a mama’s girl this month – there have been a few days where I could not so much as leave the room without you crying. I’m not sure if it is minor separation anxiety, or what.. but on those days I am perfectly content to spend extra time with you, playing or cuddling, whichever you prefer. :). You laugh often, and loudly, and make your father and I do the same.o7o6

You love the pets soooooooo much, and follow them around everywhere. It’s a good thing we have three of them, because you seriously never leave them alone. At least this way they can catch a break! Esme (the cat) is the most tolerant of you – she lets you crawl all over her, pull her tail, and sometimes even eat it (when Mum and Dad aren’t looking of course). You have tasted the dog’s food more times than I would like to admit this month and I look forward to informing your future boyfriends of this fact.

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You weigh 19 pounds (40th percentile). I went to the doctor to see if I should be concerned about your slooooow weight gain, and his response was (and I quote) “have you seen those thighs?!” I sure hope he uses more tact with his older female patients!  He said you are developing perfectly, and if you were taller (35th percentile for height) you would look pretty skinny.

But alas, it seems you are doomed to be short like your mama. But this is not such a bad thing, because as you Grandma always used to say, good things come in small packages :).

Love you forever.

10 Months

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We have had an ‘okay’ month of sleep. When you have your rough nights, you have your rough nights. A good night causes me to get 6-8 hours straight of sleep, a bad night usually results in about 3-5 wakeups. I notice you sleep your best on days where we have activities – for example, days that are spent in the pool always results in a great night’s rest for us both.

You are, however, napping like a champ. We have cut out your morning “power nap” and instead you now wake around 8 and are ready for nap time come 10:30. You generally sleep for 1.5-2 hours, and are then ready for another nap between 3 and 4, which is usually another 1.5 hours. Bedtime is anywhere between 7 and 8, just whenever you show general signs of sleepiness.

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We are still sleeping on the floor beside your crib, and you have a new habit that when you are finished napping you simply open the door (we leave it open a slight crack) and crawl out into the hallway, yelling to make your presence known. It’s pretty damn adorable.

Still exclusively breastfeeding, and you still love it, as do I. My original plan was to have this month (October) as our last full month of nursing, and allow you two full months to wean off so as not to upset you (or me) but I am now in a funny place where I am unsure if I really want to wean at all, or try and make working and nursing work for us. I better figure it out soon though, as January looms above my head like a dark cloud (always with the dramatics, I know).

As for table food, you are still a little unsure. Somedays, you eat everything off you plate and others, less than half. It’s not that you are picky I don’t think.. it’s just that you are a typical woman in the way that you don’t know what you want/like. One day you love plums and eat the whole fruit, the other, you suck on it for a few seconds and toss it aside with a look of absolute disgust. Regardless, you are offered and eat (at least some of) 3 meals and a snack or two throughout the day.

You love the TV. You would be perfectly content to sit in front of it and watch cartoons all day if we let you. We don’t. TV is reserved for half an hour each morning as I drink coffee and we both sit in silence, and if I am having a hard time getting it together to get out of the house. At those times, it is a welcome distraction.

Other than that, we play music when we are at home. You love watching me dance, and love when I pick you up and we dance together. You’ve started to wiggle your booty a bit when I ask you to dance, and whenever music is on you love to clap your hands and squeal.

Your favorite activity is pulling all the DVD’s off of the shelf. We considered putting them downstairs for the time being, but you can’t really hurt yourself doing so and it keeps you busy. So, the DVD’s stay. You always give me a death glare when I put them back, where they belong… as if you had put them just there, on the floor, with intention. You do the same thing with the shapes on your walker. Anytime I put them back, you pull them off. It is an entertaining game for both me and you.

You are a standing machine. You pull yourself up on any surface you can and hang out for a long duration of time. Sometimes you cannot figure out how to get down, and whine till I come help you out. You haven’t really started furniture walking yet, but you are using your walker (which is umm.. harder I think? More balance required. I hope you do not inherit my knack of always making things more difficult for yourself than they need to be). Your days of being on all fours (and easier to catch) are definitely numbered. I am preparing as much mentally as best I can.

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A recent development is you ABSOLUTELY despise getting dressed or having your diaper changed. It is cooler here in Edmonton, so you are wearing your fall jacket most of the time, and you scream as I put it on and when you notice it is still on you scream again. Winter is going to be a ton of fun (sarcasm).

You say “mamama” “dadada” “hihihi” and sign “more” and “all done” – but, seeing as the sign for “done” is really just waving your arms in the air, I’m not sure if “done” is really what you are going for. Or if you are indeed, just waving your arms in the air.

You now officially crawl on all fours 100% of the time – and you are FAST.

You understand the word “no” although we try to say “uh uh” instead. The last thing I want is a two year old telling me no all the time. You will start heading towards the dog’s dishes and look back at me and smirk awaiting for me to say “uh uh”. Half of the time you change direction, the other half, you continue and crawl faster than the speed of light to said water bowl. Stinker.

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You are starting to be a little nicer to the pets. You pat them for a good 20 seconds before you try to eat their tails or yank at their fur. Hey, it’s progress.

You weigh 18 pounds 12 ounces, so your weight gain is now verrrry sloooow but steady. I am told this is normal with breastfed babies, and the fact that you are so mobile is definitely another major contributing factor. Your hair is still blonde and your eyes are still the bluest of blue. You are the prettiest little creature I have ever seen… but I am a bit biased.

You bring joy to anyone who meets you. Be it on the bus, at music class, at the library, walking down the street – you smile at strangers and always put on a show. I have a feeling you will grow to be quite the entertainer, as you seemingly love the attention.

My silly girl, I love you so.

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Baby Essentials – 8 Months

I really wish I had done a Baby Essentials post when McKenna was a newborn… It would have been interesting to see the comparisons from then until now. I can tell you as a parent, what I needed when she was a newborn and what I need now is considerably less than I had thought. It is even less in our case than some; as we still co-sleep, I nurse and more often than not, practice baby led weaning (so McKenna eats a lot of what we do). We do still HAVE a crib, and it still does get used – albeit mostly for playtime. We still have bottles in the house, that are used should I be away from McKenna or if Matt feels like giving her a bottle. We almost always have organic baby food pouches on hand (we are preferential to Ella’s Kitchen), because they are incredibly handy on days when supper is running late, or we are traveling.

But this post is about the things we use on a DAILY basis .. besides the obvious diapers and wipes. Things that life would be quite difficult without.

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From L to R, first row:

1. ErgoBaby Carrier: On Christmas, I was gifted a woven wrap by my sister-in-law and had I done a baby essentials post back in those days, it would have made the list. I used it whenever McKenna was fussy, and she instantaneously would relax once being carried. Now, I have an ErgoBaby and I LOVE it. On the days when I just have quick errands to run close to home, I scoop her up in the Ergo and we are on our way. When we are grocery shopping, she more often than not relaxes in the Ergo. When I am out walking the dog, it is far easier to have McKenna in a carrier than deal with Shiloh wrapping her leash around the stroller (SOOOO FRUSTRATING!). Even better yet, when we attended those two weddings in July, and when McKenna started getting tired later on in the evening, I simply placed her in the carrier, pulled up her hood and was able to still socialize and enjoy myself while she got some much needed rest. To say the least, it has been a lifesaver and could arguably be number 1 on this list.

2. Excer-saucer: McKenna likes her excer-saucer, and we do make use of it daily because it gives me the freedom of mind should I need to run downstairs to move laundry, she will be in the same place I left her. This is a luxury with a mobile baby, believe you me! I do need to mention, however, that with her newfound mobility, she is losing interest in anything that causes her to be stationary for more than 10 seconds. I will still keep it out for quite a few months to come in cases like the aforesaid, when I need to leave the room and need to be ensured that she won’t be getting into any trouble whilst I am gone. And hey, that folding out thing it does in the picture displayed? I NEVER KNEW IT DID THAT. Awesome!

3. Jogging Stroller: The one pictured is the one that we do own, and I am going to be honest – I wouldn’t recommend it to ANYONE. I do use it daily, and love some things about it: McKenna is comfy in it and has a lot of room to grow, and I have a lot of compartment space on the bottom. That’s about where the good parts end. We have had to replace the front wheel once already and it’s looking as though it needs to be replaced again. It wobbles dangerously and clanks, almost as though it is about to fall off. Matt has taken it apart several times to no avail. Anyways, all in all a stroller is a necessity because I take the bus, and I simply cannot have McKenna in her Ergo on the days we have several places to go because it is just too much to haul a diaper bag on my shoulder whilst having a baby strapped to my chest whilst maneuvering on a moving bus (I got exhausted just TYPING that).

From L to R, second row:

4. Children’s Books: The books pictured above are Sandra Boynton books, which seem to be McKenna’s favourites, but a collection of books in general is an essential. For the amount we read to McKenna (often throughout the day and always at bedtime) it is important to us to have variety, because although babies love repetition, it can get very tiring reading the same ten books over and over again! McKenna’s library is always growing and I feel as though books are a worthwhile way to spend our money.

5. Badger Sunscreen (Baby): I did my research on this one. Badger is one of the most natural sunscreens for baby on the market, and it has become a part of our daily morning routine this summer. As mentioned previously, McKenna has (unfortunately) inherited my fair skin and we take all proper precautions to protect it. And bonus, it smells great too!

6. Kidsline Ultrasonic Cool Mist Monkey Humidifier: For one, this humidifier matches theme of her room perfectly and is adorable to look at. For two, this also would have made it into the newborn essentials list because for those first few months of her life, McKenna was constantly stuffed up. We still use it quite frequently, but maybe not QUITE daily, but I still consider it an absolute must for us because anytime McKenna is stuffy in the slightest we can turn it on.

From L to R, third row:

7. Avent 12 Oz. Straw Sippy Cups: When we introduced McKenna to a sippy cup at around 6 months, she had no idea what she was doing. We continued to give her the sippy cup, but to no avail. When we were at a pediatrician appointment, he recommended a sippy cup with a straw incorporated, and said that now dentists were actually recommending that babies use this versus the soft spout. It took McKenna no time at all to master her new sippy cup, and it is now a daily essential!

8. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium: McKenna LOVES her aquarium. Some nights I feel like even though her mind is tired, her body has a really hard time settling down, so more often than not I will put her in her crib and let her stare/play with her aquarium for a few minutes. I am also hopeful that when we make the transition to her crib the aquarium will make it easier, as she truly is fascinated by it. I don’t blame her either, it really is fun to watch and very soothing!

9. BabyGanics Baby Care Products: Matt and I made the decision to make the switch from Johnson&Johnson products after all the negative press surrounding them a few months back. I did do a bit of research and found BabyGanics to be a pretty outstanding product. And best of all? It is carried in a lot of the stores we already shop in so there is no need to make any special trips. The lotion also smells amazing!

So there you have it! I will try and do another one of these posts in a few months to see how things may change, but all in all, the amount of things REALLY needed to care for a baby on a day to day basis can be quite minimal. We do have quite a few toys for McKenna but we do not feel the need to constantly buy them, as we are more inclined to allow her to explore the world around her than play with a toy that will grow tired in a few weeks (or if we are lucky, months).

When Your Supply Drops (Without Your Permission)

We had a bit of a scary situation on our hands last week.

I mentioned it a little bit in McKenna’s 8 month update; but my milk supply dropped very quickly and suddenly (during World Breastfeeding Week, no less!). I know what caused it; I had to go for emergency dental surgery to have 2 wisdom teeth removed, and my lack of eating following said surgery combined with antibiotics (and probably a bit of dehydration) caused my supply to plummet so low, I thought our days of nursing were truly starting to come to a close – and fast.

I feel like I have been pretty honest on the blog about my journey to exclusively breastfeeding McKenna, that it took a lot of hard work to get to this point and I am extremely proud of myself, and of her for making it as far as we have already. That being said, I was not ready for our journey to come to a close; especially so suddenly. So on top of all these factors that were working against us, I spent the better part of three days worrying, and contemplating the start of supplementation. I want to make it clear at this point that I have NOTHING against formula in the slightest. It simply just wasn’t what we had planned, prepared, and worked hard for. And any lactation specialist will tell you that worrying only makes things worse (my sister-in-law also informed me of the same), and that supplementing, is generally the beginning to an end (because nursing works on a supply/demand system).

So we stuck it out. I did what a lot of women do when faced with supply issues – I took a few nights to simply relax, put my feet up, and drink a few beers. I ate oatmeal at night and at breakfast (two things said to help with supply issues). I nursed, nursed, and nursed some more. Anytime McKenna seemed even a BIT hungry, I laid down, relaxed, and let her go at it. I started eating solid foods much earlier than I would have had I not been responsible for someone other than myself (dental surgery has quite potentially scarred me for life! LOL) and I just trusted my body to come through for me when I truly needed it to.

It was a rough 3 or so days, but we made it through. I am happy to say that it looks like we are past this obstacle, and I am back to be a fully functioning milk machine (/dairy cow), and we are back on track to hit our goal of one year.

I guess the whole point of this post is really to remind myself of how scary those few days were. Although somedays I have a love/hate relationship with nursing, the love outweighs the hate about a million to one. And the benefits of nursing McKenna for 8 months thus far have already started to shine through – she still, apart from a stuffy nose and a two mild fevers, has never been sick (now PLEASE, can everyone knock on wood!). This is the justification I need for me to push on. That and the fear I felt those three days when I truly thought it was the beginning of the end. I was already beginning to mourn the loss of those early morning, mid-afternoon, and middle of the night (yes, even those) cuddles. It is my favorite way to reconnect with McKenna when the busyness of life sometimes gets in the way. And I am so proud of our accomplishments, and proud of myself for my dedication to this very worthwhile cause.

So here’s to another 4 months of successful nursing, and here’s to never giving up on the things that mean the most :).

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