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Monday, 29 July 2013 11:05

Audrey at 9 Months!

Dear Audrey,

You have now been 'outside' as long as you were 'in', to quote the cliche.  Not much has changed in the past few weeks with you; you still haven't sprouted any teeth and you're still sleeping (poorly) in the playpen in our bedroom. Although I don't think it's bothering you at all...

We're down to breastfeeding only three times a day, except over night when you still wake every 2-3 hours because I think you've gotten used to cuddling in bed with us.  When Clara was an infant, I learned quickly when she was crying for a need, or just a want, but you didn't fuss or cry nearly as much as she did and we haven't been able to focus as exclusively on you as we did on her, so I felt completely at a loss to determine when you were crying for a 'need', or a 'want', and even now I don't feel as though I can really tell the difference. In the past month or two, you have developed more of an opinion on things, and are definitely crying for more than you ever did before - I think this indicates that you've realized that you can, and you're starting to learn how your actions affect your surroundings. ie - you're learning how to get your way, which is scary for us.

You still don't crawl, but you can move around on your butt, and sometimes it seems as though you've figured out how to get from Point A to Point B deliberately that way. You also slide yourself backwards on your belly with your arms. You have the strongest arm muscles, and when you've grabbed on to something, it's nearly impossible to pry your fingers away. 

Yesterday, your Daddy lifted you up above the shower curtain rod while Clara was bathing to entertain her, and you grabbed on to the rod and wouldn't let go. Your Dad laughed about having gotten you stuck on the ceiling... 

Last weekend we went on your first ever significant road trip, and you surprised us with being a pretty good traveller. You fussed for the last hour of the trip on the way there, and maybe the last two hours on the way home, but for a 7+ hour drive, we thought that was pretty good. 

You seem to be fearless. Maybe you are just too young to realize the danger in anything, but so far you are scared by nothing. Large dogs can come up and lick your face, and you only giggle while your sister runs in terror. Animals especially seem to fascinate you - you giggle and laugh whenever the cat comes close to you.

I'm still convinced I see a bit of curl in your hair on the back of your head, despite what everyone else says...  

I have to apologize to you for the state of your baby book. Where Clara's has notes written in the margins, yours is nearly empty, and I'm so sorry. I never intended to neglect documenting your life, but it just happened that way, despite my great intentions. Please know that I love you just as much, and I am just as interested in every move you make and every noise and giggle - I just can't seem to find the time while chasing both of you to stop and write it down.  

Published in Blog
Monday, 08 July 2013 07:00

Audrey at 8 Months Old!

My Dear Audrey,

You have gone from being the baby who hates nothing, to being the baby who hates everything. Not seriously, but you are certainly fussier these past few weeks than you have been in your life so far. I hope we will soon see a few teeth pop through those gums, because I suspect this is the problem.

You are still breastfed, but I may not make it to a full year with you like I did with Clara. You just aren't as interested in breastfeeding as she was, and you much prefer a bottle.  At this stage in your life, I don't feel like it's worth convincing my boobs to 'put out' for a pump, and so you may be transitioning to formula or milk soon.  You are old enough to get all of your nutrients from solids at this point, but you still seem to want to suck on something, so I don't want to give up milk entirely for you. 

Speaking of eating, I have taken a different approach to feeding you than I did with your sister. With Clara, I carefully mashed all of her foods and paid strict attention to babyfood labels that said 9 months +, or 12 months +.  With you, I breastfed exclusively until you were six months old (Clara was only 4 months when we started introducing rice cereal), and so I have been giving you just about everything - as long as it's not a choking hazard.

This includes baby foods with some texture, fruits and breads that dissolve easily, and mashed foods also.  I've been buying you babyfood instead of making it exclusively because 1-it's just not happening, so if it were up to me you'd get almost entirely rice cereal and 2-I read an article that said store bought babyfood, because of strict health and sanitary guidelines, was probably safer from germs than food made in your own kitchen. I'm not particularly concerned about kitchen germs, but the article made me feel less guilty about not making food myself.  So, you're getting a much richer variety of foods than I would remember to make at home.  And so far, you seem to enjoy everything!

This month you've had your first bath with your sister, although your part of it was very short. You love kicking in the water, and we hope to take you to the swimming pool soon, because I think you'll love that too.  We've been getting better at bathing you (don't even ask how often you were bathed in the first three months of your life... the number might be 3... I'm so sorry...), which is in part because you have been sweating a lot at night and despite what anyone says - baby sweat stinks!  Because of this also, you've been getting first-thing-in-the-morning baths which we never did with Clara. 

When I took this picture of you in your bassinet, I was shocked at how huge you looked - because you were still spending most of your nights in it! We have been back and forth on transitioning you into your crib but because of your size we were rapidly running out of another option for you.  Some nights you would sleep great in the crib, and we were really excited about that, but some nights you would cry a lot and we didn't think it was fair to Clara (or us) to do that. 

So, we finally moved the bassinet out of our room and replaced it with a playpen, where you will spend your nights for a few months until we have established a routine with you.  At this age, we had established a bottle-story-bed routine with Clara already, and because we have been putting you down either before or after Clara, you have not been a part of this all the time. I would like to start getting you used to an evening routine as well, and as soon as we feel confident that you are used to your routine - which includes sleeping in the playpen - for a few weeks, we will try to move the routine into the crib in Clara's room. Worst case scenario, we bribe you with the freedom and fun of a toddler bed when you're 2. Only 16 months to go... 

It's funny how some things that were previously so important to us, can change so quickly. We never would have 'approved' of having a baby sleep in our room at 8 months old - but here you are, and we're ok with it, because it makes our lives easier for now. 

You still love to be swaddled, which is irritating since you also fight the swaddle and can conquer all blankets. Recently my friend passed along an infant sleep sack that they didn't like for their daughter, but it's basically a long, narrow, stretchy sleep sack with snaps on the arm holes, so you can zip it up with baby's arms inside the bag. It doesn't hold your arms as tightly as a swaddle does, but you can't pull your soother out of your mouth - which has been the biggest problem - so we actually really love it for you.  We need to buy another one, speaking of stinky sweaty babies - so we can alternate washing them more easily. 

I quicklly took this picture with my phone. I had left you and Clara alone for a few minutes 'playing' in the living room while I was tidying in the kitchen or something, and I came back to this. Clara had opened a container of body lotion (one of those sudden toddler developments that she had never previously done before) and decided that you needed some 'sun screen'.  I'm glad I walked in when I did, because some of this is dangerously close to your eye, and you weren't complaining at all.  You absolutely adore your sister, and watch her with intent concentration as though you are taking mental notes about everything she does. 

You're moving a lot more, although you still won't crawl forwards. You try to call by pushing with your arms, so you end up sliding yourself backwards on the floor. You can swivel your body in all directions, though, so you manage to get yourself around somewhat. 

When I discovered you on this mat by the front door, you had the corner of this carpet in your mouth and were ravenously gnawing at it. Since it was already in your mouth, I figured a few extra seconds wouldn't hurt so I could get a photo, but you did the deer-in-headlights thing and just stared at the camera. 

I think you may start walking before you truly crawl. When anyone tries to put you down on the floor, you stiffen your body and try to keep yourself on your feet. When you are held upright, you confidently put one foot in front of the other foot already, so although you have no idea how to balance yourself yet - you get the idea behind walking.  

I've commented before on how I don't feel any instant 'connection' with my babies - Clara was born and she was just as much a mystery to me that day as she had been before I saw her face, and it was the same with you. As you grow, and I get to know you better, and my role in your life changes more in the relationship direction instead of strictly as a biological life and sustenance provider, I fall deeper and deeper in love with you.  You are becoming more and more your own person, who laughs - and cries - at very different things than your sister did, and so you surprise us each day.  

I love you immensely my dear girl - and I thank God daily for blessing me with you.  

 

Published in Blog
Sunday, 26 May 2013 07:00

Audrey at 7 Months Old!

My Dear Audrey,

We have had another crazy stretch of time this past week, and you - as usual - adapt to every event and change without seeming to notice.

Earlier this week your Great Grandma died, and we made the 4-hour-each-way journey on Wednesday to attend the funeral.  We made it a day trip, driving a total of 8 hours only to spend about 3 1/2 hours with family.  You started complaining when we were about 20 minutes away from home on our return trip. 

Today I returned from the longest stretch I have ever been away from you - about 32 hours, and overnight! You spent yesterday and most of today with your Daddy and Clara, and you survived beautifully without me.  This was a hard realization for me, but although part of me wanted you to have obviously noticed that I was gone - and maybe even have been a little bit distressed - I'm so glad at how content and adaptable you are.  You were breastfed yesterday morning before I left, and then you were given formula until suppertime today when I got home again.  You didn't seem to notice the difference at all, and guzzled it down. Daddy also recruited your big sister to feed you some baby cereal...

Since last month you have started enjoying 'solid' foods again, and are even starting to really need it. After a few nights of having you get hungry much earlier after each feeding than usual, we started to realize that you were starting to need more than just breast milk. 

You are starting to successfully share a room with your sister, beginning from about 9 or 9:30 pm each night. We will tuck Clara in to bed for night, let you 'say' goodnight to her, and then give her an hour or two to settle down before we bring you into your bassinet, which now spends most of its time sitting inside your crib. Since you sleep much more comfortably in your bassinet (still!), we decided to try to change only one thing at a time, and are allowing you to get used to sleeping in the room with Clara while still enjoying the security of your regular bed. The bassinet also creates a visual barrier between you and Clara also, so you both fall asleep much more easily.  You are getting increasingly more consistent with sleeping at least 6 hours every night, sometimes longer, but almost never shorter. 

You are finally sitting up on your own - pretty much all the time, although after a few minutes you do still occasionally topple over. Today your Daddy even said you were starting to move yourself around on the floor while playing, so you're getting closer to crawling also!

You still seem to have a really long attention span, and today you played with an empty tissue box for about half an hour while Clara played. Your favourite thing is still to watch your sister run around and play, and you will laugh and do your 'bobble-head dance' while watching her.  Any chance to play with her also makes you insanely happy. 

We get comment after comment from people who say what a 'good', 'happy', 'content' and 'quiet' baby you are. And we can't argue, because it's really true.  You are such a blessing, and you still seem to hate nothing.  

You are beautiful, cuddly, happy and in all ways wonderful. I was so happy to come home to you today, and I'm so glad to be your Mommy!

Published in Blog
Saturday, 11 May 2013 08:08

Audrey at 6 Months Old!

Dearest Audrey,

The last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge for all of us, and yet you seem completely unfazed by the chaos.  In the midst of your sister's illness, you have admittedly been somewhat neglected and yet you seem as happy and content as ever. I can't express how grateful I am for your serenity.  You are beautiful and easy going, and being a second-time parent makes it easier (I think) to really enjoy you.

This month you tried your first 'solid' foods, and although you were interested at first, you seem to be over it, and have taken to consistently gagging everytime we try to feed you anything but breastmilk or formula. You have also, in the last month, been given formula a couple of times - mostly because my breasts don't seem to be fooled by a pump so it's difficult to pump ahead for you, and there have been a couple of times when I left you with your Daddy for a day. I hope this doesn't offend you - I know that formula is not 'as good' as breast milk, but neither is McDonald's as good as a home cooked meal, and we indulge in that occasionally - I suspect that formula is much, much healthier for you than fast food will be when you're two... 

You sleep well for the amount of inconsistency you experience around bedtime. Sometimes I feed you at 8:30, and you are placed in your crib at the same time that Clara is tucked in to her bed.  Typically this excites Clara so extremely that she will begin to giggle - which you evidently find contagious - until the two of you are both laughing and shreiking so madly that neither one of you is able to calm down until I remove you from your crib and return you to your bassinet. Sometimes if I feed you before 8, I will put you in your crib early and hope and pray you fall asleep before Clara's bedtime - although she usually finds a way to wake you up, and the struggle remains. So... you usually spend at least the first part of the night in your bassinet in our room, until I feed you between 11 and 12, and put you back into your crib when Clara is already fast asleep. We are starting to think we'll need to put the playpen in our room when you outgrow the bassinet... If we decided to be stubborn, I'm sure the two of you would learn how to fall asleep in the same room together, but lately we've just been tired and lazy, and although we try for about an hour and a half each night - we eventually give up. 

After your late night feeding, though, you commonly sleep about 6 or 7 hours, which is pretty nice with all things considered. 

You seem to appreciate silly-ness, and I suspect you might be 'the funny one' when you are a bit older. Clara seems to think that every noise you make is hysterical, and you have caught on to this and usually it's clear that you are making noises deliberately to make her laugh.  Clara loves to talk to you - she will stand next to you and say 'You talk, Audrey? You talk?', and you will babble back at her. 

I have no personal experience with a sister relationship, but it is absolutely incredible watching the two of you bond already. You put up with just about everything Clara does to you - although you are finally starting to get a bit more vocal about it when she gets a bit too rough. 

You are not yet sitting up on your own - although I haven't really tried helping you with this very much (I'm sorry). You can roll from back to front, or front to back easily now, and will rotate yourself completely around in your crib and end up in the funniest positions and places.  You do this funny little 'inch-worm' dance when you are on your back - you will crane your head back and kick your feet so that you actually move around a little bit on your back. 

You also have this funny little... I don't know how to explain it, I guess it's just a quirk... thing you do occasionally - whether you're lying down or upright. You extend your back so that your whole body 'bobs' - kind of like a bobblehead, but your whole body moves. It's adorable. Unfortunately it makes me think 'Giggidy-giggidy' every time you do it... research 'Quagmire from Family Guy' someday when you're older... 

You are interested in everything, and are much 'grabbier' than Clara was.  Nothing is safe around you - you reach further than we think you can, and have a crazy-strong grip. You are also much more interested in toys than Clara was, and you focus for longer periods of time on one thing.  Your favourite toys are the wooden snake that used to be Clara's, and you still love anything with 'Taggy's'. 

When Clara was sick, she was weighed at the hospital and we discovered that she was in the 10th percentile for her weight at her age. Out of curiosity, we weighed you on our bathroom scale and estimated you to be about 18 pounds. At 6 months old, that put you in about the 90th percentile for your weight. This made sense to us, because you seem to be much chubbier than Clara was at your age, although you seemed to fit clothing for only slightly less time than Clara did.  For example, a 0-3 month outfit fit Clara until at least 4 months - for you, it would fit at least 3 months, maybe a week or two more. I find though, that you 'fill out' clothes more. Although your length is similar, the arms and legs of clothes seem to fit you tighter.

A few days ago, however, I had you weighed at your immunization (your 4-month immunization - sorry, we've been delayed with you) and you weigh only about 16 pounds, which put you in the 50th percentile for your weight.  Considering how you've been outgrowing clothes, this answers that, but Clara was actually in about the 60th percentile for weight at at least one of her immunization appointments, which means that she was actually even bigger than you for a bit. We were a bit surprised at this discovery...

After your immunization, we experienced a few hours of fussiness from you unlike anything we had ever experienced from you before. You became irritable and seemed to have a headache.  At first your Daddy had forgotten that you had your immunizations that day, and was at a loss to explain why you were acting so unlike yourself. It only lasted that evening and overnight (another sleepless night for Mommy), and you were back to yourself the next day.

You still seem to love everything, and hate nothing, which is pretty wonderful for us.  

Thank you Audrey, for being Audrey. I am so in love with this stage of your babyhood. 

Published in Blog
Monday, 15 April 2013 08:13

Sharing a Room - The First Full Night!

We have been rapidly running out of time to get Audrey moved over into her crib permanently, since her head and feet can almost both touch the ends of the bassinet at the same time. Last night they finally spent  the entire night together!

During the last couple of weeks, we have been putting Audrey into her crib for a few hours each night - putting her down after Clara has fallen asleep. She has typically, then, gotten up in the night to feed and then been in our bed for the rest of the night. The night before last I noticed that neither I nor Audrey slept very well lying next to each other. She kept making strange grunting noises, and I was unable to find a comfortable position to sleep in around her. 

So, last night when this happened, I took it as an excuse to try putting her back in the crib. When I picked her up from our bed after she had eaten, she wasn't really awake, but she was grunting and clearly uncomfortable. When I set her down in her crib, she instantly calmed and slept quietly. Obviously she loves her crib! 

Her schedule last night went something like this:

8:30pm - Nap in bassinet while Clara went to sleep in their room.

10:00pm - Last feeding of the day, swaddled and returned to crib.

3:30am - Woke for early morning feeding, I brought her to my bed to nurse

4:00am - Her grunting became insistent, so I returned her to the crib

6:30am-7:00am - Sometime during this half hour Audrey must have awaken and then so did Clara.

The 7:00am (or earlier) wake-up call was unfortunate, because Clara typically sleeps until about 8 and we're already pretty sure she doesn't get enough sleep. All in all, however, it was a success! Both girls spent almost the entire night together in their room and for the most part, everyone slept great! 

This is a pretty exciting step for us!

Published in Blog
Friday, 12 April 2013 08:00

Audrey's First 'Real' Food!

Last Friday we were discussing Audrey's ready-ness for solids. She is five and a half months old, and in the last couple of weeks has started really noticing us when we eat. Her eyes kind of bug out, and she watches the food (or cups) go to our mouths with rapt attention. 

We started Clara on solids at almost exactly 4 months, because evidently we were in a hurry to be more involved in her eating and we thought she was ready.  We've taken a much more relaxed (not paying as much attention) approach with Audrey, and although I actually had every intention until waiting at least until she was 6 months old, I couldn't deny the signs that she was ready for food. I was also a little bit concerned about Audrey's ability to eat solids because she has a tendency to randomly choke on nothing but her own saliva... 

I had gotten a packet of Gerber Rice Cereal in the mail, so we cracked it open to see what she thought.

By the second spoon full, she was grinning like an idiot.

And grabbing at the spoon.

Success!! And she didn't even choke once! By the way, we occasionally call her 'Crazy Eyes' - that last photo kind of shows you why...

I think I've got this, Mum...

The next day I gave her some Cream of Wheat, because that was what I had in the house. Time to start making baby food, I guess! I want to avoid buying 'just-add-water' stuff this time, so I'd love some recommendations for recipes to make!

I took her bib off and set it on the table, turned my back for a second, and then turned around to see this. I guess it wasn't out of her reach, and I guess she decided she wanted more! 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:55

Audrey is 5 Months Old!

Here I am, late again for another monthly post for Audrey. Only late by a day this time, though - so I'm getting better! 

All around, Audrey is still completely and unbelievably content almost all of the time. Just today the man who is renovating our house mentioned that she seems like the 'best baby ever' - and he's been spending most of his days at our house for the last week, and he's had three of his own children, so he has a bit of experience.  

She is still sleeping in her bassinet for nights, which isn't ideal since she's rapidly outgrowing it. We moved Clara into the crib for nights at about 6 months - which we felt was much too late - and it looks like Audrey won't be very far ahead of where Clara was.  Audrey is still not sleeping through the night like Clara was by 7 weeks old (sigh), but she is sleeping for about 6-7 hours at a stretch most nights from 10pm to about 4 or 5, so she's getting much closer.  

So far I'm still breastfeeding her exclusively - I feel so blessed to have had an easy breasfteeding experience through both of my daughters' infancies. I'm starting to think about introducing some solids to her, however, since she seems suddenly interested in what we are eating... I have to relearn what the 'rules' are for introducing foods to babies - what are good foods to start with, and which foods should wait until one or two years. I'm thinking of skipping the rice cereal with Audrey and just going straight to mashed 'real' food.  Any thoughts or advice for me on that? 

This past week we've been disposable diapering Audrey because our latest method of cloth diapering requires a shower curtain rod and the nearest one is all the way downstairs and shared by a renter. So, while our renovations are going on, we're using disposables and I'm really looking forward to getting back to cloth in a few days! 

First Time in Jolly Jumper!

Milestones this last month...

Audrey can now consistently roll from her front to her back, and has even rolled from her back to her front at least once. It happened when I was out of the room and she was in her crib - I know I put her down on her back, and when I came back she was on her front.  I was pretty impressed, but disappointed that I missed it! 

She is getting better at grabbing for things - and seems to have figured out the whole 'opposable thumbs' thing, and now holds things between her thumb and fingers. 

She can also sit for a few seconds at a time. We will set her up surrounded by pillows or bean-bag chairs and when she flops down both she and Clara will laugh hysterically. This may mean her motivation to sit up will be lacking for awhile... 

Audrey is starting to fit perfectly into her 3-6 month clothing, which means she'll soon out grow them, probably... although most 6-9 month clothes still look too big on her. 

Audrey's Loves...

Watching her sister play. This is the best thing ever. Clara gets extremely 'in her face' and this is the best thing ever also, according to Audrey. Being squished is fine, as long as it's being done by her sister. 

We have another 'gummy' dependent child. Audrey loves her soother. 

She loves diaper changes, and having her clothes changed. I think she likes the physical touch and attention. She actually laughs as though it is the most fun thing in the world when you start removing her clothes. 

She also still loves being swaddled, and although she will occasionally fall asleep without this - it's still the easiest way to get her to sleep. I know that it's recommended that you not put loose blankets or clothing in the crib with a baby, but so far Audrey still prefers to be wrapped tightly in a blanket to sleep. She's also getting old enough to wriggle herself out of the blanket if she wants to, so should I be concerned about this? How do other parents handle the swaddle to no-swaddle transition?

I have no thoughts on things that Audrey hates... she seems to love everything. The last time she had a bath she even didn't hate it... 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:28

Second Child

I was determined that I would not neglect to document Audrey's life as I had Clara's at her age, despite knowing that often second and subsequent children end up with much less in their baby books because life gets busier with more than one child. 

As an attempt to help combat this (or at least to make it less obvious if it happened), I purchased a baby book for Audrey that was different than Clara's.  I want to be very conscious of the fact that my girls are not the same person. 

In this, I have failed...  Audrey's baby book is divided by month instead of theme, and as she is almost finished her fifth month of life, I realize that the fourth month page is nearly empty and - as I know happens - I have forgotten what happened last month in her life.

Looking back at our photos in the past few days, I realize the last photos I have taken specifically of Audrey were taken weeks ago. 

Here is a photo of each girl from around 4 months old to compare - do my girls still look alike?

Yeah... I think they do.

Published in Blog
Saturday, 09 March 2013 14:58

Am I Just Greedy, or What?

A few months ago, a friend of mine announced that she was pregnant with her fourth child.  My first unconscious feeling was "No! Now Audrey won't be the youngest! Now I have to have another!"

What? What kind of insanity is running around in my brain?

After Audrey was born, I was perfectly happy to say 'Goodbye' to pregnancy forever. Two daughters seemed absolutely perfect, and suddenly the idea of more was just too overwhelming, and I didn't want to think of the years and years of 'baby stage' ahead of me if I planned to have more children.

I have determined that although I think I am an 'ok' Mom - that probably most Moms have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to children's ages, and my strength is definitely not in the infant/toddler stage. There are so many things that overwhelm me at this stage, and there are so many things I'm looking forward to when my daughters are older: when they both old enough to walk when we go to the grocery store and I no longer have to juggle a baby carrier and a toddler, and are both old enough to hold an interest in random crafts or activities or games, and can both eat the same stuff at the same times, and sleep at the same times... I really can't wait until the 'baby stage' is over.

There are moments I absolutely adore about having an infant, and I'm so glad I've been able to experience it, but as a whole, I'm just not 'good' at the baby stage, and I really don't think I want to do it again. 

This week I heard of another mother in my peripheral who was expecting another baby this year. This baby will also be her fourth. 

Something inside me leapt with desire for another baby of my own. Almost a desperate panic. "No! It's not fair! If she gets another baby, I MUST HAVE another baby!!!"

What is it about hearing about new babies that makes me question my feelings about 'being done' with pregnancies? 

My husband said "You just want to be in the center of attention again."

He's probably right. 

Has anyone else experienced this???

Published in Blog
Saturday, 02 March 2013 11:11

Sleeping Through the Night!

It was February 27th, at 10:30pm - Audrey nursed for her late evening 'snack', before going to sleep for the evening. Then, at 6:41am the next morning - she woke up for breakfast.  That means she slept for 8 HOURS STRAIGHT!!! For the FIRST TIME!!!

She had slept for up to 5 hours at a stretch, possibly even close to 6 once, but this was definitely a record.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Unfortunately the next night was interrupted once in the same time period, so it's not a perfect pattern yet...

Published in Blog
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