Wednesday, July 30, 2014

21 Weeks

Audra hit a milestone last week that I was hoping we'd be able to avoid for a little while longer: her first ear infection. She has had several colds so far and hadn't had an ear infection yet, which I'm still attributing to the "baby massage" (first mentioned here) we do every night, and every morning too, when she's sick. Josie had gotten four ear infections by time she was about six months old (three within a few weeks of each other), and then we started doing the baby massage and she has only had two ear infections in the 2.5 years since then. So again, it seems a little hokey, but that also seems (to me, at least) to be more than just coincidence. What probably is just coincidence is the day Audra's ear infection flared up was the first time I had forgotten to do the morning massage too since she had gotten sick - I think it's a useful tool, but maybe not that powerful :-\ I do still feel bad about it though, especially since she had been getting a little more fussy and having more problems sleeping the days leading up to it.

Backing up a bit, we had gone out to one of the community pools with Ryan's family on Saturday to celebrate my birthday and eat pie, which was a lot of fun. Audra's still too young (and her skin too sensitive) for sunblock and chlorine quite yet, so she stayed in the shade the whole time, happy to be passed around to everyone before taking a catnap on me. After that, we headed over to Ryan's parents' house for dinner, where Audra was content to be held while we all ate food and she attempted to eat napkins and the tablecloth :)
But as we were packing up to go home after dinner, Audra very quickly escalated into full-blown crying/screaming. We rushed home and I tried to comfort her while getting her ready for bed as quickly as possible, but all the while she's screaming on a whole new level, all sweaty with tears running down her cheeks. And I can't even really describe how miserable it is for everyone when she's this upset - it's almost like an out-of-body experience being in her vicinity when she gets that worked up, since she's just so loud, and the frequency of her cries just reverberates in my head so that it's hard to even think :( So I finally get her ready for bed, and she calmed down as she was nursing and fell asleep well around 7:30pm... but then woke the first time at 10:15pm and then every 45-60 minutes after that, for the rest of the night. She was pretty happy when she woke for the day though, so I thought maybe it was just a fluke, but then she was back to hysterics within an hour. After nursing again she seemed a bit better but still not herself, so when she woke screaming from her morning nap, I packed her right up and we went off to urgent care (with her screaming the whole way).

She gave a few smiles to the doctor there, through all her tears, but it was just so sad to see her that miserable. Her eyes had also been a bit goopy for the last week, so I had him check those as well, but her eyes and lungs looked good... just not her left ear, which was infected. So she's on amoxicillin now, and we were able to stop with the Tylenol for her pain after the first 24 hours. And while her sleep marginally improved after that, the new issue is that the amoxicillin is upsetting her tummy, so now she's uncomfortable from that overnight.

Oh! And even before the ear infection Audra had had another night of waking about every hour or so all night, as far as I can tell because I had eaten strawberries the day before. So it's been an especially rough week for sleep (and that's not even taking into consideration my apparent inability to sleep when I'm running a fever, as I have been the last couple of days). She did much better last night, though, and only woke 3-4 times. Funny how what constitutes a "good" night of sleep can change very quickly when it follows a horrendous one ;) She also was able to get herself back to sleep on her own a few times each of the nights she was up so frequently, so that was a silver lining as well, to see that she is getting more capable of doing that.

After talking about it for a few weeks, we finally got the exersaucer out of the attic for Audra, which seems to be a big hit with her. She is very intent on hitting all of the things, although she hasn't quite figured out that she can bounce in it too. Tummy time (at home, at least) kind of took a back seat to the exersaucer this week, although she can apparently now roll multiple times in a row. "Apparently" since I didn't see her do it, but given that I left her in one place and she very quickly moved a few feet away, I have to assume that she has learned to do multiple rolls in a row now :)
Audra's hair is also starting to come in more. It's still pretty light and fuzzy, but especially on top it's getting longer and a little bit thicker, which I think is a little more obvious in the picture below:
Audra and Josie were sweet together this week. Audra has usually seemed a touch apprehensive about Josie (perhaps because Josie is a whirlwind of toddler at the moment), and would still smile at her, but maybe not right away. This week, Audra's smiles at Josie came much more readily, and she was actively trying to look at Josie, with Audra craning her head around the car seat to see her and smiling and laughing at her. Josie has started taking over the task of brushing Audra's hair in the mornings, and she helped me get Audra ready for bed last night too - I agreed to let her brush her hair and pick out her sleeper, but vetoed Josie actually giving Audra her medicine :) Since Ryan was on a work call, I tried to nurse Audra down with Josie in bed with us too, and while Josie was good and stayed quiet the whole time, when Audra flung herself away from me (possibly asleep), I watched in horrified slow-motion as Josie reached out to tap her on the forehead... which promptly set Audra back to wiggling :) Audra managed to get hold of Josie's hand and seemed to have a "Goldilocks" moment - her fingers seem too small for her to suck on, ours seem too big, but Josie's were just right :) And Josie didn't seem to mind either, offering her hands up to Audra and giggling the whole time.

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Like father, like daughter]
[Contemplating the transgressions of her rattle]
[Some of her various noises]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

20 Weeks

So I have a book called "The Wonder Weeks" that describes the first ten developmental leaps that occur during a baby's first 2 years or so. I've found it useful from a developmental standpoint, and usually slightly less useful from a "stormy" or "sunny" phase standpoint (the theory being that babies will be in a stormy period just before and as they master new skills, and then will be in a sunny phase afterward), since sometimes babies can be fussy or clingy or stop sleeping just because and they don't really need a reason beyond the fact that they are babies :) Audra has been hitting the different leaps pretty much spot-on so far, though, and supposedly she's on "Wonder Week 19", which is one of the longest, starting around week 15 and usually lasting somewhere between 1-6 weeks. That is my lifeline at the moment, as I am desperately holding onto hope that she is almost through this phase, especially since she just had some new skills pop up, since my goodness. She is still cute and sweet and (mostly) happy as anything, but she's giving us a run for our money lately.

Last week was a low point for sleep, at least for me. Audra was waking up around four times a night to nurse, and was up for the day usually 1-2 hours earlier than normal. With her needing to be resettled a few times even before her first nursing (which is usually between 11:45pm-1:45am), I was only getting a max of 2 hours of sleep at a time, so I just got so worn down -- with muscles hurting, back hurting, and a cold coming on again -- that by the end of the week I was just a mess. Crying at work because I was just so tired, running into things, having troubles talking. No good. And I usually use the weekends to catch up on sleep since I'm still napping with Audra, but then she only took half hour naps all weekend (and then woke very upset from most of them) vs. her usual 2 hours, so that didn't help either.

I'm not the best about asking for help when I need it (especially when it's in the middle of the night), but Ryan and I came up with a plan to hopefully help us all get through this phase in one piece (involving him taking her more overnight so I can go sleep elsewhere and me getting to sleep in one day on the weekend). And there have been some promising developments with Audra's sleep too - she actually fell back asleep all on her own one night when she woke around 1:30am, and she just started going longer between wakeups again (3-4 hours vs. the 1-2 it's been lately) and has been down to three wakeups a night for the last few nights.

Anyway, on to stuff that's more fun!

Audra continues to like tummy time, and seems to be making some early attempts at crawling! We're kind of shocked that she's becoming more mobile so quickly - Josie had just started scooting around 11 months (only switching to crawling right around when she started walking at 14 months), so we thought we had a lot more time. So although it's a painstaking process still, she can now move herself forward (and back!) by a few inches.

She also was able to sit on her own for maybe 1-2 minutes, before she ever-so-slowly fell over - she seriously impresses me with her ability to do (what seems to be, at least) a controlled fall :) She is really into touching our faces lately, and while she still isn't doing so well on sucking her own fingers (she prefers the middle and ring finger together, or to attempt to suck on the base of her thumb), she certainly likes to suck on ours. She is also becoming more bold in her attempts to get our food, and has almost pulled plates off the table and intercepted food we were about to eat. We gave her the end of a "bunny carrot" (as we like to call the carrots fresh from a garden), and since it had been Josie's first, we saw some of the first real signs of possessiveness from Josie towards Audra. My guess is Audra's going to be no pushover, though ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Squirmy baby]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

19 Weeks

Last week Audra had her 4-month visit to the pediatrician, which she was super happy about, making herself laugh as she punched and kicked while we were waiting for the doctor :) She is now 19lbs 9oz, 27.5" inches long, with a head circumference of 16.25"... so holding steady at 90th percentile for her head, and still off the charts for weight and length :) Her doctor thought she looked great, and she's getting closer to being ready to sit on her own. She certainly likes being pulled up to sitting and to sit supported in our laps, but she doesn't keep her hands on the ground long enough for tripod sitting to work for her quite yet.

Audra finished out her part of the visit with getting her next set of vaccines, which she did great with, only crying a little bit. She did much better after this round of vaccines (DTaP/Hib/polio combo shot and rotavirus) from the first time she got them, when she woke screaming and basically inconsolable three hours later. This time, she was a little fussy the next couple of days and not napping well, but seemed to do fine besides that. She also still has a little bit of a cold, with some coughing and a little bit of stuffiness overnight, so that could have played a role with her sleeplessness too.

Her sleep is still not great. She's been more difficult to nurse down at night again and woke up early several times (~5am vs her usual 6:30-7am), although there were some nights where she did much better than she has been at the beginning of the night, where she was still shifting around a lot but actually able to resettle on her own. She also has been doing this thing lately that's driving me a little bit crazy, where she just pops on and off while I'm trying to nurse her down - since she swallows so much air doing that, it means I have to burp her far more often than normal, which just wakes her up again even if she had been on the verge of sleeping... but if I leave her unburped, then she might eventually fall asleep but she'd just wake from the gas later. Neither option is ideal. But after a particularly tough time trying to get her down for a nap one day, I thought I'd try a pacifier when she started popping off... and it worked beautifully! She settled right down and slept well, and although we haven't had the same success with using the pacifier overnight yet, it's at least another tool we can use to try to get more sleep for all of us.

Audra has been a bit more sensitive emotionally this week. Ryan made her sad cry surprisingly frequently, just by being a little bit too loud, nuzzling her with his whiskers, or sometimes just making a funny face at her. A server at the restaurant we went to last weekend also made her sad cry - she was stroking Audra's arm and talking to her, and while Audra was happy at first, she started getting more tentative, then the lower lip came out and she just started wailing :(  On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Audra has been super into tummy time lately, and is quite happy rolling, spinning herself around, chewing on her mirror, and reaching for her toys :) She is also watching us far more closely as we eat now, which (if I remember correctly) is one of the early signs of being ready to start solids. It's good to see she's starting to get ready for it, and while we still won't start her on solids until she's at least six months, it's surprising just how quickly that's coming up!

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Josie wanted to hold Audra in the carrier... it didn't go so well]
[With her Aunt Alyson at Josie's birthday party]
IMG_1914 IMG_1913

Monday, July 14, 2014


Last month was a pretty busy one with Josie. As I mentioned in Audra's post from that week, my dad and stepmom had come down for a visit, and Josie seemed to really enjoy spending time with them and my brother and sister-in-law. She also proved to be quite entertaining when she saw a bird outside the restaurant we had just eaten at, and proceeded to squeal and yell "boo!" at it until we finally dragged her away :)

We also went to a birthday party for one of the other babies from our Bradley class. Josie didn't get to go to her party last year, but she had so much fun this time and really seemed to hit it off with the birthday girl, so that was really sweet to see :)

We also went to Josie's first carnival. She didn't know what to make of it at first, but after we went on our first ride, she clued-in pretty fast :) She wanted to ride every ride (some more than once), but at least took it pretty well when we told her she would have to grow a bit more before she could go on some of the bigger rides. 
[Ryan and Josie were in the yellow car]

Josie appears to have maybe peaked with her intense emotions (at least for the moment), as there were actually several days last month when she hardly cried at all during the day! As her language skills progress, though, she now has more ability to share her opinions - she definitely likes things just so, and is quick to point out when we haven't done things according to protocol. She has called me out on using her bathroom ("Don't use my bathroom, use your own!"), which prompted a pleasant discussion on sharing the different rooms in the house. I also attempted to personalize some songs by changing the words to them, and she told me I didn't sing those parts right (I thought they were just fine, for the record).

Josie has also been more observant about our actions and mimicking us more than she used to. She loves to get out her "work computer" whenever she sees us on our computers, and told me that she wanted to get a job, and that she wanted a bigger, bigger, BIGGER work computer... so I told her she should work at my company then, since my laptop dwarfs Ryan's ;) She also has a newfound interest in her baby doll, who she decided to name "Ashley". For the last several weeks, she has insisted on taking her to school, putting her in Audra's bouncer, sitting her right next to Josie in the car seat, etc. 
[Helping Ashley suck her thumb]

Josie seems to have had another big developmental leap when it comes to language. Her sentences are longer and more complex now, and she's also saying multiple related sentences in a row. She has learned the street names in our neighborhood, is starting to recognize some landmarks, and there's constant chatter from the back seat now as we're driving (Are we going this way?  Are we turning right? Where's that man going? A school bus!!! Where's your light? Green means go! Etc., etc.). Her imaginative play is blossoming too, as she was apparently doing a puppet show with her kitty and blanket instead of going to sleep the other night - all we could hear from her room was "Is it bedtime? No, it's not bedtime!" so Ryan went in to check on her, and she promptly stopped talking, but the kitty and blanket were apparently still miming their lines as she continued bouncing them above her head ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Josie being helpful as always - that would be a pacifier she's sticking in Ryan's eye :)]
[After her first haircut in a year]
[Another of Josie's hand-picked outfits - she didn't get to wear my shoes to school, though]
[Storytime with Daddy]
[Supervising Ryan building the raised beds in the garden]

Thursday, July 10, 2014

18 Weeks

I think Ryan summed things up pretty well this week when he noted that Audra doesn't sleep much, but she sure is happy. Poor thing is still a little sick, and while her congestion has mostly cleared up, she's still coughing quite a bit. I'm not sure if that's impacting her sleep at all, but she's still waking up more at the beginning of the night so that she ends up needing to be resettled maybe 2-3 times without nursing and sometimes once with, and there were a few nights where she either woke me to nurse every hour starting at 1am, or just kept going on her own for the rest of the night after I fell asleep... but at least she only did the dreaded "up for the day at 4:30am" once last week. And she had one night where she only nursed twice AND I was able to unlatch her while she was comfort nursing without it causing any issues. Both are rousing successes in my book :)

Audra has been pretty funny this week, though, with her aggressive lip-smacking, constant baby sit-ups, and rather vigorous punching and kicking. I feel like I have even less privacy than before, now that I have baby eyeballs on me whenever I'm in her vicinity ;)

She does seem to enjoy her daddy time, and she was quite delighted with Ryan last weekend, giving him lots of adorable smiles :) I started looking at some books with her too, mainly sticking to the ones with pictures of babies in them, since it's so cute to see her touching the faces ever so gently (right before she tries to gnaw on them). She has also gotten plenty of time in the carrier, and while it's becoming more rare that she falls asleep in it now, she at least seems content being carried around while she's awake now too.
[About to embark on our project that afternoon: dusting the house]
[Multi-tasking at its finest]

Apparently Audra spaced out her feedings during the day and I didn't even notice... well, at least until last weekend. Lately, she's been perfectly fine just being held while we're out to eat rather than needing to nurse every hour or so, but I realized that I haven't nursed her in public for quite a few weeks now after I tried a couple of times to nurse her under a cover last weekend. It was a very different experience from the last time I did that. Now, she was popping on and off the whole time, messing with the cover, and generally just not that into it. Maybe she just wasn't hungry those times, but since I'm not quite brave enough to nurse in public without a cover, hopefully she'll continue to be mostly content while we're out and about so I won't need to try to tackle that again too soon...

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Getting Josie's shoes on is apparently a community effort]

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

17 Weeks

After rolling over front to back a couple of times last week, Audra apparently decided to take a break from that and hasn't done it since... but what she has done is focused her efforts on rolling back to front, and she can now flip herself over very quickly (as we've found out the hard way!).

Audra came down with probably what Ryan had last week - a really nasty cold. She is still coughing and pretty congested, but seemed especially bad towards the end of last week. She apparently had been crying a good part of the morning at daycare on Friday, which is unlike her, so they called us to come get her. She was doing much better by time we got there, but I still wanted her to get checked out since her cough didn't sound like a "regular" cough, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't something more insidious. We couldn't get in to her pediatrician that day, so we just went to the Urgent Care that's in the same building, where the doctor checked her out, proclaiming her throat, ears, and lungs to be just fine, and that it was most likely just a cold.

In other news, Audra is getting ever closer to sucking her thumb. She can get just a single digit in her mouth now, but tends to just chew on it instead :) She continues to gnaw on her hands at every opportunity, and it seems she should be teething with the amount of drool she's been producing lately, but we haven't noticed her gums bulging yet.

Given the developmental changes from this week and the fact that she's been pretty sick, it should probably come as no surprise that this was a pretty terrible week for sleep. Everything from struggling more to fall asleep in the first place, to waking up repeatedly at the beginning of the night (which she normally never does), to nursing the entire rest of the night after her first wakeup around 2am, to waking up for the day around 4:30am. So it's perhaps needless to say that this has been a rough week, but everything in these early days is just a phase, right? Here's hoping ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
IMG_1809 IMG_1823
[Josie suggested Audra wear 5 headbands, but I think 2 is plenty :)]