This week Josie celebrated her first Christmas :) But first, we had yet more medical issues, with a trip to Urgent Care on Thursday after she broke out in a rash, presumably due to an allergic reaction to the new medication she was on for her ear infection. She's on new medicine now and the rash cleared up within a couple of days, so hopefully this medicine will do the trick. We kept her out of daycare for the week, first because of her fever and virus, and then for the latter part of the week since she was being a bit needier and more easily upsettable than normal, so we wanted her to be able to get a bit more one-on-one attention. Ryan's family really helped us out last week - Ryan and I alternated staying home with her at the beginning of the week, then Ryan's mom, dad, and youngest sister each helped watch her for the second half of the week. That is a huge benefit to living so close to family, because it turns out it's really not very easy to work and watch her at the same time, although it does really help that she can entertain herself with her toys for a little while now.
This week really brought a lot of changes with Josie - she seems to have made some big developmental leaps, and that on top of being sick and feeling miserable! She is now babbling, which is apparently the next step in language acquisition after cooing - cooing was working on the vowel sounds, now she's working on her consonants, "bababa" being a favorite so far.
She has also gotten far more active and precise with her hands. She went from grabbing my camera strap for the first time (which was oh so cute and charming - little did I know just how quickly she was going to progress in this skill) to being super quick with grabbing things (and usually sticking them directly in her mouth). Josie even grabbed my shirt as I was walking by, which was crazy since normally she had been a bit slower to grab onto anything - first she would usually touch it with just the tips of her fingers, then bat at it a few times, then eventually grab onto it. In the space of a couple of days, she went from that level of contemplation to basically seeing something and immediately grabbing for it.
[The first of probably many pictures like this]
Josie has also gotten much quicker to laugh, which is just great :) She randomly started laughing at me the other day because I was doing... approximately nothing. I was walking to the kitchen and Ryan was heading up the stairs with her, and something about that situation was hilarious. And each time I said "what?" or "Josie!" she would just giggle more :) Ryan also called me out on the fact that I had yet to do "superbaby" with Josie, which she just loves. I tend to be a bit more restrained with her physically since I'm not exactly very coordinated (I especially take to heart Ryan's song entitled "You can't fall off the floor"), but I buckled down and agreed to do it last night. There were just a couple of problems: 1) it's hard to focus when there is a baby with a huge grin of gleeful anticipation laying 2 inches from my face, and 2) I apparently have no upper body strength, because I could only lift her up a couple of times for a matter of seconds. In the meantime, I could always just bounce her toys off her, which she also inexplicably loves:
Anyway, on to Christmas pictures! We had a last-minute change of plans and spent Christmas Eve with my family at our house this year (since we thought it might be pushing it to stay overnight at my mom's like normal with Josie feeling under the weather), and then went to Ryan's sister's house on Christmas Day with his family.
[All dressed up in her "Baby's First Christmas" outfit]
[My mom reading to Josie (shortly before that book got taste-tested as well]
[My brother and Josie showing off her barrettes (part of the gift from Brian and his girlfriend)]
[Smiling hello to Ryan's family]
[Getting in some quality time with Uncle Christian]
[Being ridiculously adorable in her bunny hat]
[Delighted to see Mirror Baby was attending the Christmas festivities as well]
Poor Josie - she's had a rough week. She was to finish up her medication for her ear infection on Monday, but she ended up coming down with a virus of some sort over the weekend. So her cough has gotten much worse, she was running a temperature up until yesterday that got up so high (104.3) that we took her to the E.R. on Monday, and now we just found out that her right ear is badly infected again. And yet all we really know is what she doesn't have: pneumonia, strep, RSV, the flu. She has been one sad baby, and has been sleeping more than normal (but will only fall asleep if we're holding her) and sad crying when she's awake :( She did give me a couple smiles this morning, though, so I'm hoping she's feeling a little bit better, and hopefully this new antibiotic will clear up her cough and ear infections as quickly as it's supposed to. It's so hard to see her hurting and as sad as she's been the last week.
We did still take Josie to a community event over the weekend (before we realized just how sick she was), so Josie got to meet Santa for the first time :)
[Blowing some bubbles]
[Tuckered out and snuggling with Grammy]
Last week was (almost) my first full week of pumping since I moved from an office into a cube ("almost" because I was out sick last Monday). My office building is being renovated to change from all offices to mainly cubes, so after almost 5 years in an office, I am now back in a cube :( Having sunlight again is nice (since I was not in a window office), but it's massively more inconvenient to pump at work now. I'm still pumping every two hours for about 30 minutes, so it's much less convenient now that I can't just pop my door closed and keep working. So now I have to pack everything up, trek over to the Mother's Room in the connecting building, set up, hope my computer hasn't flaked out from being disconnected and then reconnected to the network), pump, work, and usually eat something. Then pack it all back up again, and get set back up at my desk. All in all, it's quite a bit more difficult to work and get really involved in my work, since I know I'm only going to have at most about an hour and a half before I will be disrupted by moving locales. I'm still dedicated to pumping, but this is definitely making me look forward to when Josie will be eating solids for nutrition (which is still months and months away...) so that maybe I can cut down on a pumping session or two during the day.
So I've been back at work for 2.5 months now, and except for the disruptions from pumping and a few rough days from lack of sleep, it's gone pretty well. Josie seems to like daycare (and they seem to really love her there), and while it is still hard to be away from her for so long, it helps that I'm comfortable with the care she's getting during the day, and knowing that she's still getting plenty of attention and interaction. Daycare has also been good about working with us on stuff that's maybe not entirely mainstream - mainly, cloth diapering, exclusively having breastmilk (beyond the age when I think a lot of babies have started on cereals), using glass bottles (with a slight learning curve - turns out glass bottles don't mix very well with bottle warmers). In turn, I think this has helped us stick with doing some things that we had planned on. Although we're not as diligent about using cloth diapers at home (I tend to use disposables at night), she's in them 100% at daycare except for if she has a diaper rash. Really, out of everything that we were really planning on doing (natural childbirth, exclusively breastfeeding, cloth diapering, cosleeping, etc.), the only thing we haven't done is using cloth wipes rather than disposable wipes. Try as I did to remember, I just kept forgetting until I finally just threw my hands up and started buying disposable wipes in bulk.
[Josie has no problem finding her fingers to suck on no matter which way is up]
Another week, another trip to the pediatrician. I was supposed to take Josie back to the doctor this past Monday to check that her ear infection had cleared up and to do the second half of her 4-month shots, but after ending her medications at the beginning of the week, her cough got worse and her eye started draining again, so instead I took her a few days early on Friday. She is now over 19 lbs (not sure how far over though, since she was wiggling around so much I couldn't catch the number of ounces), and her ear infection got worse over the last couple of weeks, so we had to continue using the eye ointment and add a stronger antibiotic than the amoxicillan we did for the first ear infection. We're not too happy about having her on antibiotics again (still), but she seems to be tolerating it okay so far, and then we get to go back to the doctor just before Christmas to try to get her shots in then (assuming she's healthy).
Josie has been a bit more fussy this week, though, so either her stomach is a bit upset and she's not feeling quite herself, or she's coming to the realization that not everyone is here to be charmed by her and entertain her ;) Apparently she has gotten a bit more demanding at daycare, and is now crying when she's set down, or even if she's being held but not getting enough attention. I think this is interesting, since for her first few months she really only cried when she was tired, hungry, or uncomfortable, so now she's begun crying for other than her basic needs. Interesting, but also a bit exasperating, as she has started getting very upset when she drops her toys. Which she does a lot, seeing as how she just really started getting interested in her toys a couple of weeks ago, so she's not very dexterous quite yet.
On the flipside, she has been giggling more and more readily lately, and was outright laughing last week when the other kids at daycare were jumping up and down by her (and then she got mad when they took their jumping elsewhere...). We've also gotten her to giggle by making faces at her, saying certain things to her ("blink!" "arm up!" being two popular ones), and even just nodding our heads at her.
[This is my more elaborate method of getting her to giggle]
Her sleeping has gotten a bit more erratic over the last couple of weeks. She had started to sleep better overnight again, but with feeling under the weather, she began waking every 2 hours or so from coughing... and then one night woke up coughing every 45 minutes, which was rough. We have a humidifier going now, which seems to be helping with her congestion at least, and she's started only waking a couple of times a night again which is definitely welcome - I've been sick as well, and I came down with a nasty virus this weekend that completely incapacitated me for a couple of days. Luckily, Josie has been relatively easy on us for the last couple of weekends. Last weekend was the epitome of a lazy weekend, with Ryan and I both getting to have lots of sleepy Josie time:
As far as development, Josie has been pushing up and trying to push forward when we lay with her on our chests now. She also discovered the joys of swinging her arms around, so now we've woken up several times to her thumping her mattress while she swings her arm back and forth (punctuated with some thumps from her swinging her legs up and down too).
[Trying to crawl up Ryan]
She's also tolerating laying on her stomach more - before, she would usually be crying in less than 5 minutes, but she actually relaxed and laid quietly on her stomach a few times last weekend.
[It turns out that Josie laying on her stomach creates a nice resting spot for her stuffed kitty and other miscellaneous toys as well ;)]
I forgot to note one important milestone from a couple of weeks ago: on November 29, 2011, Josie monkeytoes'd me for the first time. So now we know that she has Ryan's ears and toes ;) She has been gripping our arms like a firepole with her feet for a while now when we change her diaper, but on that fateful day, she actually pinched my arm with her toes for the first time - and it hurt! So this serves as fair warning to steer clear of her little baby monkeytoes ;)
[Sucking on her index finger and watching some skate videos with Ryan]
[Josie's new sound for the week]
[A video Ryan put together of just a sampling of her various sounds]
This week included another trip to the pediatrician, since Josie's cough had been getting worse and she then started to have some eye discharge too. Ryan had a skateboarding incident over Thanksgiving weekend, so he stayed home with Josie on Monday to take her to the pediatrician and so he could try to recover from his concussion. This was going to be the first full day he had watched her on his own, but I ended up coming home after lunch once I had enough time to question the judgment of leaving a sick baby home with a husband with a head injury ;) They were both doing just fine, but taking care of Josie doesn't usually leave much time for resting, which is more what Ryan needed (although being pressured into going to the doctor doesn't really lend itself to rest either, as Ryan astutely pointed out to me).
So Ryan took Josie to the pediatrician, where they confirmed that she had a cold, pinkeye, and an ear infection in her right ear again. Her congestion has come and gone throughout the week (and we've gotten more adept with the saline nose drops/bulb syringe combination), she was on antibiotic eye ointment for the week (with her eye looking much better within the first couple of days), and we'll be going back to the doctor in a couple weeks to check that her ear infection cleared up all right. It wasn't as bad as the first one, with just some fluid built up behind the eardrum, and since she hasn't been acting like her ear has been bothering her we'll hopefully get to avoid another round of amoxicillin - especially coming on the heels of being on the antibiotic eye ointment, we'd prefer to not have to have her on more medications since they don't seem to agree with her.
I don't know if she just had another growth spurt or if I'm just seeing it more now that daycare commented on it, but Josie seems to be noticeably bigger again. She did weigh in at 18lbs 10oz at the pediatrician, and I've suddenly realized all of her 0-3mo clothes really, really don't fit now, and her 3-6mo clothes are too small too. So now she's in 6-9mo clothes, and I actually had to go clothes shopping for her - everyone else has kept her well-outfitted so that I've just bought onesies and an outfit for special occasions, so this was the first time I had bought regular outfits for her. I got very little pink, but some of the stuff was still more cutesy than I would have expected I would get for her ;)
Miss Josie also got LOUD this week. She likes to make a lot of noise anyway, but this week she began shrieking. This is still adorable and quite funny, but can be a little startling ;) She is continuing to explore more with her hands, and started doing some more repetitive hand motions, including "shaking hands" - she was holding one of my fingers while she was nursing once, and kept moving her hand up and down so that we were shaking hands the whole time she was nursing - since she was giving me some dirty looks when I kept laughing at her, I don't think she found that nearly as amusing as I did ;)
[Running through her various noises]
She has also started to hold onto the hand sanitizer when she's getting her diaper changed, which is also (of course) adorable:
[Note the furrowed brow - clearly she thought I was not taking her needs seriously, since it was 4am and she just wanted me to get on with the diaper change so she could have some food]
One of the blogs I came across on a forum recently had a list of "things to remember". I think I've been pretty good about writing down (and trying to capture on video) the little things I'm going to miss, but as I found myself nodding along and getting all misty-eyed and nostalgic while reading through them, I thought I'd repost it here (with some added comments). The only things I'd really add are watching Josie sleep (I've found myself on more than one occasion recently just watching her peaceful face and just trying to drink in the sight of this wonderful little being that we brought into this world), and having her sleep on us, as I can't think of much that's better than having our little baby curled up and asleep on our chests.
-Her baby stretch. It's gone now, already :( Arms so so high, fists balled, lips straight across, head arched back, bottom lip stuck out. I adored this. She did it from day one. [Josie has stopped doing this already too - sad, since it was so cute and I was never really successful at catching it on video]
-Her "heh heh heh" sound that she would make when she was so eager to nurse. It's also gone. We would always laugh because it was sooo adorable. [Josie pretty much stopped doing this the day I tried to record it - she still will do it on the rare occasion though, and then I repeat it back to her and we end up sounding like Beavis and Butthead ;)]
-Her "baby talk". It was like she was trying to "talk" extra soft and extra baby like. Little Ahh's and Gaaah's. She would do it oh so quiet and soft. It was like she sweet talk....also gone now. [Josie kills me with her quiet baby talk - she does these super-quiet raspberries when she's awake and waiting for me to get her out of her crib at night]
-Her screeches. They are hardcore and shrill. Most would want to cover their ears but I just love them. We all laugh. The other week at the Nutcracker Market she went on for probably 30 minutes. We got laughs from others. haha [Ah, the screeching. Love it.]
-The way we both just love staring at and admiring her.
-The time right after waking up in the mornings. She is very quiet and touches all over Mommas face. Hands in my mouth, over my eyes, everywhere. I pretend like I am going to eat her fingers. She laughs [Josie has just started really doing this - gently exploring my face, grabbing onto Ryan's chin, sticking her hands in my mouth]
-Her face mesmerized by mine. She just stares in amazement as to be thinking "My Momma is so pretty". She did it for almost a full 30 minutes while facing me in her Bjorn at the Nutcracker Market. My Mom even kept on commenting. I of course was thinking the same thing that I suspect she was ;) [I have not had this experience yet - I'm pretty sure she hasn't sat still long enough to have a chance to be mesmerized by anything ;)]
-Her sleeping face, lips puckered...while I kiss them. [I haven't kissed her when she's asleep for fear of waking the beast, but she gets more than her fair share of kisses while she's awake though :)]
-Nursing. [Yes. Also, Josie sleeping on me after nursing]
-The way she rushes back to nursing burying herself after briefly pulling away to look around. She also laughs at my face during nursing and gets too distracted to eat, so funny. [This kills me too - and also the face she gives me whenever she's done nursing and actually not asleep (which is normally the case). It looks like the picture below, although most of the cuteness is in the expression on her face, which you can't really see from the angle.]
On a more serious note, this is a somewhat bittersweet time of year for me. I'm looking forward to the holidays and getting to spend them with family (and Josie, as it probably goes without saying), but it's also hard since about this time last year, we were in Rochester laying Ryan's beloved Grandma Dot to rest. All of my grandparents had died when I was still pretty young, and with Grandma Dot living with Ryan's parents just up the road from us for the last few years, I got to spend more time with her as she became my honorary grandma. I hope to never forget the times we spent with her, especially the evenings I went over to have dinner with her while Ryan's parents were out of town, and we would eat the entire meal holding hands.
I had so hoped that she would be able to meet Ryan's baby, but unfortunately she passed when I was about two months along with Josie. We had told her when I was about that far along in the first pregnancy, and I had never felt more like I was going to suffocate as I did then with all of the excited hugging :) That made it all the harder when we learned just days later that that baby had passed, so we struggled a bit with whether or not to tell her I was expecting again. We ultimately decided against it since it was pretty clear her health was failing, and we were afraid it would make her feel worse to know that she wouldn't be around by time Josie was born. So as we head into the holiday season, how much I miss Grandma Dot is reminding me again how important it is to hold close those who are dear to you.