Tuesday, January 31, 2012

29 Weeks

This was a fun week with Josie, interspersed with some really bad nights of sleep. My guess is she either has another ear infection (since she also developed another cold within the last couple of days), she's teething (I think I may feel some teeth under her gums, and there has been an uptick in the amount of drool she's been producing lately, but that may just be wishful thinking that she may actually be close to cutting a tooth), or she is having some tummy upset from solids - or maybe all three. But the last couple of nights especially have been rough, with her marking every 30-minute sleep cycle by crying out in her sleep (that was the night I got a couple hours of sleep when she first went down at 7:30pm, but then didn't get back to sleep until after 3am), and then last night she did slightly better, but still was up three times to nurse and ended up having to sleep on me twice. And as much as I love waking up to see her sweet little face inches from mine, I really would also like to sleep at some point again, for longer than 2 hours at a time. Ah well. I know everything is a phase, and we were expecting disrupted sleep at this point anyway, as she gets more mobile and more teeth. And given that she's waking up crying (rather than her usual raspberries and quiet chattering), that also tells me she doesn't exactly want to be awake as much as she is, so hopefully whatever is going on with her will pass soon.

At least her naps have seen a slight improvement over the last couple of weeks - she seems to be more consistently going down for her morning nap around 10am, while her afternoon nap(s) are a bit more varied at this point. But at least she's napping! She still averages about 1.5-2 hours of sleep at daycare, and then has been closer to 3-4 hours total for each weekend day lately.

Anyway, onto the fun stuff! First, this is one of my favorite videos of Josie so far - this child loves to make noise. Constantly.

Her sitting up has gotten a lot more stable too - she's able to sit for a lot longer in general before her head gets too heavy for her, and she's been able to sit on her own without immediately toppling over. Apparently, having all ten of her fingers to choose from is not enough, as she's also now sucking on her toes when given the opportunity:

Josie and I had a fun afternoon this weekend - sadly, I normally don't get to spend that much time with her awake, since I usually have feeding/napping time with her, but then when we're not doing those activities, Ryan normally gets her so that I can eat, do housework, etc. But Ryan was out skateboarding this weekend, so I spent a leisurely couple of hours with her without bothering to worry about housework. So I sang her a couple of songs, and we also had our first conversation. Ryan and I have been mimicking her sounds quite a bit to encourage her, but this was the first time it seemed she understood that we were communicating in some sort of loud, shrieky way. So for about 5 minutes, we had a hilarious conversation of yelling, babbling, and cooing... although now we're paying for it, since she seems to be yelling even more. But really, if she wants to converse with us, who are we to discourage it? ;)

[The short barking yell at 8 seconds left is her preferred method of communicating right now]

We also read a few books together, which we have really not done a good job keeping up with. I know it's encouraged to read to babies a lot, establish bedtime routines with stories, etc., but since she usually goes to bed as quickly as possible during the week and we're out and about (or asleep) quite a bit on the weekends, it just hasn't really worked out. But she was far more into it than the last time I read to her, and had fun playing with each of the pages (and taste-testing them, of course). Ryan also read to her for a bit, and luckily she's still not too picky about the subject matter yet.

[Reviewing the new Google privacy policy together - she was enthralled]

Josie also seems to be recognizing her name now, as she has been looking up when we say her name. She has been especially ridiculous with smiling and laughing lately, and more than once in the last few days, I found myself saying how awesome she was. She's really been so much fun this week - even when she's being demanding. When I went to pick her up from daycare yesterday, she immediately broke out in a huge smile and started kicking and flailing her arms around - and since no one was watching, I did the running man for her, which she is finally developing an appreciation for ;) But then I dared to look away from her for a few seconds and she yelled at me. She was giving me the stink eye when I looked back at her until I started pulling faces for her again, and then all was right in her world and she went back to grinning and flailing. Ridiculous.

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Everything is still funnier on the stairs]
[Baby bedhead]

[Random noises]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

28 Weeks

This week I did something that I haven't done since before Josie was born: finished a book (if you thought I finally got a haircut, the answer to that would still be no). In fact, I finished three (The Hunger Games trilogy), thanks to the Kindle Ryan got me for Christmas. I had been resisting as long as possible, since an ebook reader just does not provide the same multi-sensory experience a regular book has (no difference in heft of the book, sound of the pages turning, smell of the pages, etc.), but then I realized that I could continue holding out for the time to read a real book, or I could give in and get an ebook reader and actually have a chance at reading something (especially since most of my reading time is in the dark). So I did the latter, which has really been coming in handy for the time between when Josie falls asleep and when I move her into her crib. Instead of spending the time daydreaming or falling asleep myself, I now get a designated 15 minutes of reading, which has been great. And sometimes I'll get some reading time on the weekends too, when, like last weekend, she slept for several hours on me.... and on Ryan too.

Josie is continuing to get better at sitting, and can now sit by herself for a few seconds - and even correct herself (sometimes) when she starts listing to the side :) She's been doing more tripod sitting, but I think it just happens to work out sometimes that she'll put her hands down to support herself, when really she's just going after her feet. She's also getting more interested in standing, and even pushed up to standing on her own yesterday.

She also had an avocado and drank out of a cup for the first time this week... she could probably use some more work on both, though. The avocado was probably the most she's ingested of any solid food so far, probably mainly because - after thoroughly mashing it with her hands - a good portion was still stuck to her thumb when she decided she wanted to suck her thumb for a bit. And with the cup, since she was trying to drink like she would nursing or out of a bottle (which is more of a chewing motion), most of the water poured right back out of her mouth. But the interest is definitely there, so hopefully she'll figure out to keep her lower lip up at some point ;)
[Going after Ryan's mason jar]

Josie has now been relatively healthy for over a week(!!), which I believe is the longest stretch since she started daycare in October (Ryan and I are still not quite better though). It may very well be coincidental, but we started doing "baby massage" (as we like to call it) about a week ago now, which is an osteopathic manipulative treatment used to keep the fluids draining from her head and neck, which should supposedly help prevent ear and respiratory infections. It seemed maybe a bit far-fetched, but we figured a massage wouldn't hurt her, and if it did happen to work, then all the better. We're hoping to be able to avoid some ear infection/antibiotic cycles, since we really don't want her on antibiotics all the time (and we'd rather not have any need for her to be on them to begin with!). So far, so good, and hopefully this will help the next time she gets a cold and the congestion drains into her ears again...

Work is finally going a bit better for me. I've been happy to be back at work, but a bit frustrated with how unfocused and inefficient I feel like I've been ever since I came back from leave - probably not helped at all by the fact that I have to pack up to head over to "my other office" (i.e., the mother's room) every two hours, which is quite disruptive. But I've finally started noticing that I've been able to have some really productive days again, so hopefully I'll be able to get my mind back in the game and have those days more and more. It also helps that I'm able to work from home one day a week, so by starting earlier and ending later - even taking into account the time I spend catching up on laundry (or writing blog posts) - I'm still getting more done and putting in more hours than usual. And, as I told one of my coworkers who just came back from maternity leave this week, it has gotten easier to be away from Josie all day - now sometimes whole minutes go by when I'm not thinking of her. I meant this as a humorous part of the pep talk, but I think my coworker caught the truth in that too - it's so easy to miss Josie when I have this to look forward to:

[Ryan's Rosco P. Coltrane impression seems to be a hit with her]

[Where I suspect she got ahold of some caffeine somehow...]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

27 Weeks

This week we enjoyed a couple of days of near-healthiness (or, at least, nearing healthiness), with Ryan and I feeling better than we had in weeks (months?), and Josie seeming to be feeling better as well. And then Josie came down with a cold again, with lots of congestion but not as much coughing this time, Ryan's congestion got a lot worse (and more colorful) and he now has some sort of stomach bug, while I held pretty steady with the congestion I've had the last couple of weeks. We knew we were going to be sick more frequently with Josie in daycare and being exposed to (and bringing home) all those germs, but this is pretty brutal - we just keeping coming down with illness after illness for months on end now.

Before she got too sick again, though, we were able to sneak in a couple more vaccines, although we're still behind on the recommended schedule. So she went to the pediatrician last Wednesday for her 6-month appointment, and she is now 27 1/2" long (up from 20.1" at birth), 20lbs, and her head circumference is 18" (for those keeping track at home, that's the 95th percentile for length, 95-98th for weight, and her noggin is still off the charts). Josie is continuing to hit her milestones (like standing with assistance, passing toys between her hands), although for some reason the skill she's really excelling at - babbling - wasn't on the list ;)

Also, given my penchant for doing comparison pictures (see: my entire pregnancy), I'm kind of surprised that I haven't been doing comparison pictures for Josie's growth. So here's the closest thing I have:
[Four days]
[Two months, but a slightly better shot to compare her length]
[Six months]

The pediatrician also wanted us to get Josie going on solids, and to be feeding her rice cereal for the added iron. We momentarily freaked out that we were behind on introducing solids, but after Ryan and I had a chance to talk about it more, we realized that we're still fine - for the most part (except for the couple times we gave her an apple or banana within the last few weeks) we're following the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics's recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, so since that just happened on January 8, we really can't be that "behind" yet ;) And after doing more research on the rice cereal, we may not go that route either, since rice cereal is really not that nutritious, and the added iron is not that much of an incentive since apparently it's not absorbed very well (~4-10% in the cereal) vs. the iron she can absorb through breastmilk (~50-70%). So this may be another case where we're being given directions based on formula feeding being more of the norm in the U.S. for babies of Josie's age (since we are now officially in the minority: ~44% of babies in the U.S. are still breastfed at 6 months), and is just something we need to keep on top of and make sure we research - since obviously we don't want to deprive her of nutrients that she needs, but we also don't want to follow guidelines that aren't applicable in her situation.

In the meantime, she has now had bananas, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, and multi-grain cereal. She seems to like all of them so far, based on the amount of hassle she's willing to go through to get them in her mouth, and by the amount of crying that ensues when she drops a piece ;)

We're also thinking that introducing solids may be causing her some digestive distress though, since she's gassier again and hasn't been sleeping well at night (which has been going on for weeks though, too, so it may also be a combination of her body getting used to digesting solids as well as all the various illnesses she's had the last few months). In any case, we've been honing our skills of sleeping with a baby on our chests, and we can both apparently sleep with her on us for hours, with our hands clasped around her so she doesn't slip off (Ryan has been able to do this from the start, but this is a new development for me, since I would usually not be able to intentionally fall asleep with her in bed with me or on me - funny what happens when exhaustion sets in). This obviously isn't an ideal situation, but we try to make it as safe as we can - we do the arm "seatbelt" around her, and we do wake up each time she wakes up (and she's not a wiggleworm in her sleep like she is when she's awake), and I still don't appear to move a muscle when I'm asleep with her near me (given the number of times I've woken up with my arm asleep, aching back, etc.).

Josie has also gotten better at standing, and can keep herself upright for a few seconds now without any help. She also appears to like the falling part, as she was rather happily flinging herself into the couch cushions, so I'm not sure how well that will serve her in learning to stand, but it's funny enough in the meantime.

Josie continues to enjoy her new favorite toy: her feet. Diaper changes have gotten even less efficient for me (the master of the slowest diaper changes ever) since as soon as I get her feet in her line of vision, she realizes that she must chew on them (or at least hold on to them) immediately and for long periods of time. I also finally understand the yoga pose "happy baby", as she has done this a few times recently, and does indeed look happy doing so :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Plotting her next move]

[Taste-testing her toys]
[When only a thumb won't do...]
[...or when one thumb is not enough]

[Putting her little monkey toes to good use]

Monday, January 9, 2012

26 Weeks

Josie is now 6 months old :) We celebrated her half-birthday by going for a walk (to drop off a contract that has now been ratified for the rental house!), going out to Sweetwater Tavern (where we also went for my birthday when she was three weeks old, back when I thought that would be the last time we'd be going out to eat until she was six years old - funny how much that changed), and having lots of naptime on us.
[Ready for her walk!]

This week was a bit of an adjustment again - after all of us being home together the week before, I was surprised at just how hard it was to go back to work this week. I was happy to get some work done that had been building up, but it was hard to be apart from Josie (and Ryan, for that matter) after getting to spend so much time together again. The need to be near her was a bit over the top this week and maybe not even in my best interest - if she had had a good night and didn't wake me up before 2:30am, then I started getting twitchy and watching for her to open her eyes so I could snatch her and "comfort" her - when really, the two feet separating our bed from her crib was just too far for me to deal with, and I just wanted an excuse to cuddle with her :)

As far as Josie's development, she's gotten much better about putting weight on her legs, and was standing for a while today with Ryan just supporting her belly so she didn't topple over, but he wasn't actually holding her up. She also rolled tummy to back going the other way now, but she still isn't too interested in rolling back to tummy all the way over by herself. Josie has been working on her grip, and has been grabbing onto any loose skin she can get a hold of on Ryan and me (his throat, my arms, etc.), and doing other rather unpleasant things like digging her little dagger fingers between the bones in my elbow (which feels even worse than it sounds).

Josie's feet continue to be a point of fascination for her, and she can now grab onto and pull her feet towards her to gnaw on:

[Note the hiccups - she doesn't get them as much as she used to, but still will if she gets laughing hard enough, as was the case here; apparently, yelling "naked baby!" at her a bunch of times was enough to set her off ;)]

Jose also started working on some other new consonant sounds, with our favorite being "t":

[A very soft "t" makes its appearance at around 16 seconds - note also her abuse of poor Mr. Hand Sanitizer]

So 6 months marks not only the halfway point to Josie's first birthday, but also marks the halfway point for two more things: my goal to keep doing weekly updates for her entire first year, and my hope to also keep nursing for a year. I've heard there are companies out there that will print and bind blogs, so I was thinking a weekly narrative of Josie's first year would be a really nice thing to have and to be able to give to her at one point. And while I know I had previously said that the plan was to nurse for 6 months, that was more the "attainable" goal, while the real, "stretch" goal was always to nurse for a year. So since I'm halfway there and know what to expect a bit more, we're going to just keep going and see how far we get :)

Something else I was looking forward to when Josie hit 6 months was that this was supposedly the magical age when her digestive tract would be mature enough that the food sensitivities should begin to subside and her spitting up should start getting better. She did spit up much less than she had been for a few weeks, but - perhaps not coincidentally - she just started spitting up pretty badly again. "Not coincidentally" because I also started to slowly reintroduce some of the foods that I'd been trying to avoid for the last 3 months. I've had some cheese and other dairy in small amounts, and I suspect that's probably what she's reacting to. I've also had some corn several times now, which she seemed fine with, as well as some bread and pasta (which was a twofer, with wheat and tomatoes!), which she may have been ok with. I'm fine with continuing to avoid these foods for as long as I need to, though, although it does make it a little easier if I don't need to, since I do still forget to pay attention to what I'm eating until I'm halfway through it sometimes.

Last week I also had a beer for the first time since I got pregnant (the near beer last Thanksgiving notwithstanding). I've read that I could have a beer, and, if timed correctly, it wouldn't have any negative effects on breastfeeding, but I didn't feel like worrying about the timing, so instead I had maybe a quarter of the beer New Year's Day and then had a few sips each night throughout the week. Surprisingly, the beer actually kept its flavor and didn't get too flat over the course of the week :) So I made it all the way through 2011 without any alcohol, but I'm still going to wait until after Josie is weaned before I properly enjoy a beer again - maybe even all in one sitting ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:

[Blowing raspberries and getting distracted by her feet]
[Hamming it up when we went out to eat...]
[...and the aftermath of all that hilarity]
[My little helper - when I wasn't looking, she somehow got her leg through the armhole of her outfit this morning]

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

25 Weeks

And so we mark the end of our "Christmas vacation" - after staying home with Ryan, me, and various members of Ryan's family two weeks ago because of a virus, Josie (and apparently Ryan and I) came down with RSV last week. RSV is apparently a very common - and highly contagious - respiratory virus, so Ryan and I stayed home with Josie last week and attempted to work from home. We went back to the pediatrician this morning though, with me fully expecting her to have RSV again since we all came down with something AGAIN towards the end of last week (when she was finally almost better), but apparently this time it's just a cold: her lungs sounded great and she wasn't wheezing as much, so she's now back at daycare for the first time in two weeks. Oh, and she has now broken the 20-pound mark, weighing in at 20lbs 4oz :)

While it wasn't very fun to be sick and to essentially have to take a week off work (especially since I look forward to working the week between Christmas and New Year's - it's my "catch up" week since it's usually so slow), it was also really great to stay home with Josie and see all the changes she's gone through in the last couple of weeks. Josie has really progressed with her babbling, and (only partially tongue in cheek) we're pretty sure she said her first words now: "dada", "nom" (which, while I say this to her all the time when she's eating or I'm chewing on her ears, probably doesn't really count since it's not in the OED... yet), and "nada". Now she just needs to say something intentionally while understanding the meaning behind it ;)

She also has gotten more hilarious with her babbling - she gets a very serious tone in her voice as she expounds upon whatever it is she's talking about, she has a certain look of concentration, and her little chin sticking out and off to the side just kills me. She also is watching us far more now, and it's fascinating to see language acquisition in process, as we say things to her in an exaggerated manner ("lalala", "bababa", etc.), and watch her focus on the way our mouths move as we sound out each syllable.

[Explaining her point of view to the burp cloth]

[Her babbling was a bit difficult to catch on camera this week, so I resorted to trying to record her from other rooms]

Josie also rolled over for the first time! She's fairly consistent going tummy to back now, but has only gone from back to tummy (on her own volition, at least) maybe once. Here's the video of I believe her fourth time rolling over (she was a little tired by that point and was over the whole tummy time thing, hence the crying):

Also, she can chew on her feet now, which she does with a gusto (and least when there are reindeer involved):

And after not being too interested in putting any weight on her legs, she has now started to stand with some assistance (Auntie Sara, in this case):

Given everything else she accomplished this week, we figured we might as well start her on solids too :) As I mentioned before, we're planning on skipping the rice cereals and purees (for the most part, at least), and just giving her finger foods that she can feed to herself. We're abiding by the mantra "Just for fun until the age of one", so the next few months are really less about her actually ingesting solids for nutrition and more for her to explore textures and tastes, and to become more skilled at feeding herself and learning how to chew and swallow the right sized bites of food (and apparently gagging is perfectly normal as she learns this, which I've heard can be a bit scary until the parents can tell the difference between gagging and choking - not enough has actually gotten into Josie's mouth for us to experience this ourselves though!). So she's had some banana and apple so far, and already seems to be learning how to grasp a bit better and with more skill, since she's learning if she squeezes too hard, the food will pop right up out of her hand :) She seemed to like the banana just fine, but given the crying that ensued each time she dropped the apple, it seems she prefers apples so far.

[Her not-very-successful first attempt at eating a banana]

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[On her activity mat, now relocated to the living room and covered in toys (yes, we even bought her some ourselves too ;))]
[Helping wash Ryan's face]
[Delighted with a job well done!]

[39 seconds in the life of Josie: playing with her favorite of the tags on her Taggie (the care label), getting distracted by her hands, and making funny noises]