Friday, February 27, 2015

51 Weeks

Last week was a little rough again, as Audra was being particularly screamy. She really was only happy in the evenings if I were either holding her or at least sitting on the floor with her (so she could sit on me, apparently). But then she also screamed when she wasn't unhappy, but was just trying to communicate, like when she shrieked (repeatedly) throughout dinner whenever her food supply was getting low. I know this is just a phase, but she's already so loud anyway that I kind of wish she would ease up on the non-emergency screaming for the sake of our nerves :-\
[Something was clearly not to her liking here]
[So cute.... and then the screeching starts]

Sleep was also not that great last week, with a few rough nights with many wakeups, although she also had a couple of 3-4 hour stretches over the course of the week. She did fall back asleep a few times laying on my chest without needing to nurse first, which does at least prove that it is possible for her to fall asleep on occasion without nursing ;) She also resettled herself during a nap on the weekend without nursing once, which is the first time that has ever happened (at home, at least).

Audra started wearing shoes more last week - she apparently is fascinated with the other kids' shoes at daycare and tries to put them on herself, so we sent her in her own.... at least, for a few days until she started getting very agitated in the car to and from daycare since she normally likes to yank her socks off then, and the shoes were preventing her from doing so. She certainly likes to play with shoes at home though, and for a few days, a popular game at home (for both kids) was to put various objects into one of the food storage containers, with Audra's favorite being her soft soled shoes.
I think Audra is starting to make the connection that different objects have names now, since she has really been into pointing and saying "da" at various things for us to name them. She still loves her fish and duck pictures, but also discovered that pointing to the elephant picture above her change table will prompt me to do a (thoroughly unrealistic) impression of an elephant ;)

She did get less screamy as the week progressed too, and there were some sweet moments with her - she normally wants to be bounced, jiggled, flipped around in different positions, whatever, so I'm enjoying the latest trend of her just sitting quietly on my lap and letting me hug her :) Audra is also remarkably attentive when someone else is crying - as soon as Josie started crying one night, Audra stopped what she was doing and went right over to her and tried to pat her (and inexplicably throw a leg over her), and daycare has confirmed that she tries to comfort the other babies there too.

Audra developed a rash behind her knees about a week ago, and given its location within the folds of her chubby legs, we started putting antifungal cream on that. Then she came up with a bump on her back... then more, and more, and more, until her entire back was broken out and she had some spots basically all over her body.
She never acted sick though (well, unless the screaming was related), so we just kept an eye on her until one morning when a new rash was completely covering one of her armpits. So she went to the pediatrician on Wednesday, and they thought the two rashes were likely unrelated, so we're to continue with the antifungal cream for behind her knees (since of course it spread to the other one too), and cut out all topical irritants (scented detergents, etc.) and likely food allergens (dairy, eggs, nuts, seafood, etc.) to see if that helps her skin clear up. She's been a trouper and seems to be tolerating it pretty well even though I know she's pretty itchy, but we're following the doctor's advice and hopefully it will clear up soon.

Also notable from her trip to the pediatrician? She's apparently 29lbs now, which seems like a pretty big jump from the 25lbs she was a couple of months ago. And two different nurses came in to comment on the adorable sounds she was making and her fantastic laugh as we were waiting for the doctor. Given that Audra had just screamed at me most of the morning before her appointment (not because she was mad, just .... because), I found this view of her complete delightfulness funny but slightly exasperating :)

Audra appears to finally be backing off her milk consumption during the day in favor of solids, and we're now sending one less bottle (4oz) to daycare each day. This takes some pressure off me, since I can more easily keep up with her again when she's drinking less :) But really, I just have one more week (!) before I meet my one-year goal and then I'm going to cut down on pumping at work anyway. I don't have much of a plan beyond going down to 3x/day after next week, and eventually getting down to 1x/day (or ideally not at all), and using frozen milk to make up the difference between what I pump each day and what she needs. And once the frozen stash is gone, then we'll probably start using cow's milk to make up the difference. I'm thinking maybe I'll continue nursing in some capacity until she's 2ish...? I'm just in no rush to wean this time (since we won't be trying for another kid), so ideally, I'd like to get to where I'm comfortable only nursing her whenever we're together with only minimal/no pumping during the day. We'll see!

Not having to pump at work will also help me focus better, since going the mother's room several times throughout the day has proven to be very disruptive. Being able to focus will be even more important to me very, very soon, though, as I'm about to embark on a pretty big project at work. I mentioned previously that my company was being acquired and I was anticipating being out of a job... well, the acquisition just closed this week, and not only am I not out of a job (at least, not yet!), but I have been asked to be a contracts lead on the integration team :) So very exciting stuff - I served in a similar role for my company a few years ago, and that got me into the corporate work I've been doing the last few years (which I love), so I'm excited to see where this takes me next. :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Chicken tastes better if someone else feeds it to her, apparently]

[Sitting like a big girl and doing some important work with the cookies]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Last month, Josie had a few new firsts. I brought her to the dentist with me for the first time, and while we had talked about what would happen at the dentist, we were just going to play it by ear to see if she would have her teeth cleaned too... and apparently watching me go first helped her feel comfortable enough to hop right up on the chair and do a fantastic job while they did a full cleaning for her, complete with flossing :) She was almost unbearably sweet that day though - even before my heart hurt to see her in that big chair, sitting perfectly still and trying so hard to hold her head just right, as she was quietly observing me getting my teeth cleaned, she would whisper, "I love you, Mommy" and reach out her hand to me whenever I would look over at her. My sweet girl :)
We also signed her up for ballet at school... we had waffled long enough to miss the deadline to sign her up for the first session in the fall, and after learning that just about every other girl in her class went to it (and seeing how often "ballet class" was factoring into her play), we made sure to sign her up for the winter session. She seems to be liking it so far, but is quite reticent when it comes to the details - so far we know that she got a sticker once and they did "tippie-toes", but that's about it.

Probably the biggest change last month was that Josie moved up to Pre-K at school. She was recommended to move up with a few of the other kids from Preschool, and while I was a little apprehensive since she was on the younger side for Preschool anyway, let alone for Pre-K, they assured us that she was definitely ready for it academically. I'm honestly still not sure it was the right decision, or if we should have pushed back and had her transition in a few more months instead, but I've been talking with her teachers throughout and watching her pretty closely, and she seems to be doing really well. While our first visit to the Pre-K class wasn't very promising (she stuck right by me and wouldn't say a word, only saying "I'm so scared of Pre-K!" after we left), the transition itself was actually pretty smooth and she has been really positive about the new class. Really, the hardest part right now is that she is no longer in class with most of her friends, and she's actually to an age now where that matters. She is making new friends in Pre-K, though, and hopefully more of her Preschool friends will move up soon enough too.

And actually, her transition to Pre-K went even better than it should have, since her first week there she appeared to be dealing with a minor ear infection too. She started complaining that her ear hurt on Thursday or Friday, and since we really try to avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, after doing more research and reviewing the AAP's revised guidelines regarding treatment of ear infections, our plan was to observe her over the weekend and bring her in on Monday if she wasn't showing improvement. Even knowing that the vast majority of ear infections clear on their own within a few days, it was still hard for me to hold to this plan, though. It seemed to be a pretty mild infection, since she had a lowgrade fever and complained that her ear hurt, but she was still sleeping pretty well and never got to the level of pain that she normally seems to have for ear infections. So Friday night we tried various natural remedies to ease the pain/infection, which led to Josie laying on the couch with onion juice in her infected ear and a warm onion on top, and then warmed garlic mullein oil in her ear a few times that day and the rest of the weekend too. Saturday morning, her fever went up and she complained that both ears hurt, so I started getting more worried.... then after she woke up from her nap that afternoon, she was fine. Her appetite was still a little off, but no fever and no pain in her ear.... and no lasting effects from a round of antibiotics :)
In other news, we changed up the toy situation at our house again, and replaced some of the shelving/closed bins we had in the living room with open bins so that more of the toys would hopefully be visible and therefore played with. We also pared down the toys yet again so that the number of options wouldn't be overwhelming, and added them to the toys stored away upstairs, which also seems to help with interest in them - the kids basically get "new" toys every few months when we rotate them, and something that was maybe beyond their skill level/interest before is now much more fun.
So far, this seems to be working very well, and Josie has played with a lot of the toys she didn't really touch before. She also rediscovered toys she already seemed to have forgotten about from Christmas, and was excited about them all anew :) She dressed up as a doctor several times, insisting on checking our vitals and plastering us with (luckily imaginary) band-aids all over, and had a ton of fun playing with Audra's fish pool... which was alternately a hat (to be sneezed off of our heads), or a birthday cake (for us to blow out the candles on before pretending to eat it). Even non-toys have been entertaining to her, as she was fascinated with a new scarf I had bought myself and wanted nothing more than to lay underneath it the rest of the night.
Audra's glockenspiel has also gotten some good usage, with Audra continuing to whack away at it, Josie making up songs on it, and Ryan actually playing it. He has been able to play along to various songs now, so a favorite pastime has been to put some Lumineers on the tv, and then Ryan will play along with the music while Josie and/or I sing, and Audra dances ;)

And after that heartwarming visual, I will bring it all down by saying that Josie has been making up songs more lately, sometimes wholly made up and sometimes existing songs just with changed words. One example of the latter was her singing "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of POOP!" I think the responsible thing to do in response would have been to ask her not to use potty words, but we were laughing too hard so she got a pass this time ;)

Josie has been doing much better with using her words, so she'll say she "needs more time" when she's in a new environment rather than just get all upset when someone encroaches on her personal space before she's had a chance to warm up. Her harshest rebukes are currently "I'm not going to be your friend", "You're not being respectful", and "I'm so mad". I am apparently developing the "Mom voice" too, since one morning Josie told me I was annoying (in her defense, that was true), but quickly changed it to "silly" when I said "Excuse me?" and asked her to repeat herself ;)  But as she gets more comfortable with expressing her opinions and thoughts, we also get funny little Josie-isms like her telling Ryan "It's ok, Daddy, you can go to sleep in your bed now" after he fell asleep in her bed. Or explaining to me (and getting quite upset about it) how Ryan had thrown out her chocolate coin, that that's not nice that he threw away her chocolate, it wasn't his, and now she's very sad and she's going to tell her daddy that. She also had helpful words of advice for me when I accidentally slammed my head into the doorframe trying to buckle her into her car seat, as she suggested I put my head through the door hole instead (thanks, kid).
[The gravel road was making her so serious!]

She is starting to order her own food at restaurants, and has even made happy plates (i.e., she ate everything on her plate) a couple of times lately, which she hadn't been doing for a while. She does seem to be more inclined to eat well when she has some personal investment in it (like ordering it herself, or helping to make it), and since she usually likes to help whenever we let her, she has been helping out in the kitchen more lately - making breakfasts, cracking eggs, putting things away. We also kept her home one day last month since she had a night of croupy coughing, and seeing her playing at being a "baker" motivated me to actually bake something with her, so we made ginger snaps together. She did a good job helping me and seemed to have a lot of fun :)
[Sick day = building up some static electricity courtesy of our couch]

Josie has been keeping Audra at arm's length a bit more lately.... perhaps because Audra still loves to pull Josie's hair, and they are also more evenly-matched opponents now when they squabble over toys . But there have been moments of sweetness between them, as Audra is still thrilled by Josie's mere presence, and Josie still loves to give Audra food or help her with her sippy cup, and she randomly whispered "you're so sweet" to Audra while stroking her face :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[Making cheese animals]
[I'm not even sure where her body went]

Saturday, February 21, 2015

50 Weeks

Last week had some cool developmental changes for Audra. Just as I was thinking I should give up on doing any signs with her (I'm not consistent with it, and while she seemed to recognize the sign for "milk" at least, she had never attempted to make it herself after all these months), she suddenly did the sign for "milk"! ...and then she continued to sign "milk" for everything that wasn't milk too, but that's ok ;) She also held up her finger to "shush" us after Josie and I had been shushing each other, and she loves to wave. She recognizes now that coats are usually involved with us saying good-bye to each other, so she starts waving whenever we start getting coats on... even waving to no one once when we all headed out the door together :)

Audra is getting more interested in having us name things for her, and will repeatedly point to the pictures on the wall around her change table for us to say what they are. She especially likes the fish pictures, perhaps because after I say "fish" for each one, I'll make fish lips and kiss her on the nose ;) But she is trying to say "fish" herself now too, and can at least make the "ish" sound.

We did all right in the evenings together, one night with her walking around eating an apple for most of the time I was doing evening chores. While I wasn't super thrilled about the bits of apple she was dropping all over the house, it did keep her happy and then it was funny to see her keep trying to fit the apple in her shoe... especially when she actually ate down the apple enough that it did fit ;)
She is definitely interested in books, but apparently only in small quantities each so far. She'll bring me book after book to look at with her, and she'll gasp with delight as we look at the first page or two... and then she'll grab it away from me and toddle off to pick a different book for us instead. She also had fun putting her sock monkey in and out of one of my boots for a good while one night, and was also vastly entertained when I laid down on the floor to (pretend) cry when she started crying one night when I dared set her down for a moment. She immediately stopped crying and came over to pat me on the head (so sweet!)... before climbing on my back and bouncing around a ridiculous amount, making me laugh so hard it hurt.

We went to a couple more birthday parties last weekend for Josie's school friends. The first one was at an indoor playground with a separate toddler area too, which I thought Audra would be stoked about, but she was strangely subdued. I wonder if she was just overwhelmed with all the sights and sounds there, because she seemed happy enough, but just wasn't as enthusiastic as I was expecting. But nevertheless, she was entertained enough while we were there. She got to the second party late due to a late nap, but had more fun with that one, which had a bunch of inflatables that she was able to bounce on and climb all over :)

Audra has still been screaming a lot whenever I put her down, and won't readily accept Ryan as a substitute, usually crying for maybe 10 minutes or so before deciding that he'll do and then start playing happily again. She really just likes me to stay on the floor with her to serve as her home base. She now will sit quietly on my lap (sometimes even laying her head against me, which always makes me melt), or will come hug me for a quick cuddle before venturing off on her own again. She also recognizes when she's doing something she shouldn't, like the way she watches me as she very carefully bites me, or when she immediately calls out whenever she's able to secure the one remote we don't want her to play with. Her favorite toys seem to be non-toys: a pot and spoon, trivets, a tape measure, RCA cables, a rolling pin. She does like her actual toys well enough too, but these are the things she tends to come back to more often - silly girl :) She also likes to dump all of the toys/non-toys out of the bin and put that on her head instead ;)

Sleep was still a bit rough towards the beginning of the week, since she was still waking frequently and sometimes having trouble getting back to sleep because of her coughing. Once the coughing finally went away, she still woke more than I remember her waking before this latest illness (but maybe it's exactly the same, who knows), but at least had one or two multiple hour stretches most nights. And on one notable night, she did multiple 2-hour stretches, fell back asleep on her own a few times without nursing, woke up as I got up at 6:10am and cried a lot on Ryan's chest for 10 minutes as I went to get ready for work, and then fell back asleep and was out for the count (even after Ryan moved her so he could get up too) until 8am.

We also had a snow day last week, and so we all stayed home on Tuesday. We spent most of the day inside since it was just so cold outside, and the girls had lots of fun playing rather rambunctiously. We eventually went outside too, with Audra bundled up with me as we walked out on our frozen pond for the first time :)
[Standing on our pond!]

Miscellaneous cuteness:

Friday, February 13, 2015

49 Weeks

As I'm almost better from my last illness, it seems only fitting that Audra came down with something again :( She has had just a little bit of congestion, but the bigger problem is all the coughing, as she has been up for hours overnight because of it. She also has been waking up more lately anyway, and I don't think her cold was helping matters, So it was at least every half hour for several nights, with only a few 2-hour stretches in there. Perhaps needless to say, this has not been a stellar week for sleep.

Besides that, though, the only other issue really was a couple of evenings of fussiness/screaminess, when she wouldn't tolerate being in the carrier and even still yelled at me despite the fact I was not only sitting on the floor with her (which is usually enough for her) but even was trying to hold her (which is actually what she usually wants). So she kept flinging herself off me to lay on the floor to be able to properly tantrum... except when she laid down, she kept bumping her head even as I was trying to catch her each time, so that would get her more upset - really, it was just a big mess. We suspected she might be coming down with another ear infection, and while we're not sure if it was just coincidental or not, we have been putting garlic mullein in her ears a couple of times a day the last few days and she has been much happier again.

Ryan and Josie continue to go to the pool most evenings, so Audra and I continue to entertain ourselves at home :) Little things prove to be quite fascinating to her, and we spent quite a while one night playing with Josie's oven mitt... Audra would hand it to me to put on and then would light up when I'd wave to her, then would shove her hand in when I held it up for her to then stare in wonder at the oven mitt on her hand... before, of course, she would take it back off and hand it back to me to start again :)

She has been a little ridiculous with the cleaning up lately. After she eats and I set her down on the floor, she immediately beelines for the brush and dustpan or a wash cloth now, and will diligently "clean" as she sweeps things around and scrubs the floors. She even has brought me little bits of food that she's picked up off the floor, which is much better than her usual approach of either eating it or throwing it out. We've been having to keep a closer eye on her lately as she tries to throw out toys, wash cloths, her toothbrush, etc.

We all went to the pool over the weekend, and Audra had a lot of fun again, although she did decide she liked the chlorinated water there so she kept trying to drink it, so attempting to thwart her kept me busy. I just think she's so cute when she shows interest in toys and plays with stuff now, like when she was vrooming around her toy car one night, and then sitting in one of our kid chairs, kicking her little legs as she played with her baby doll :) She also figured out that chairs make good stepstools, and we caught her pushing a chair over to the dining room table, climbing up on it, and grabbing for all the stuff we thought had been safely stored out of her reach.

Even though I'm pretty sure I learned this lesson a week or two ago, as it turns out, I really can't eat cheesy pasta yet as I had baked ziti one day for lunch, and she did not do too well that night. Meanwhile, we tested peanut butter and mussels for her last weekend, and she had no problems with either, so that's good. And although she had one night where she ate everything on her tray and then cleaned out her bib too before eating two clementines (and yelling for a third), most nights she doesn't bother too much with the vegetables and just chucks them off her tray pretty quickly. She likes some (red peppers, broccoli), but really seems to prefer fruit and meat. So here she is contemplating her fancypants sausage that we got from a local farmer... I had been a little unsure about giving it to her since I was afraid she'd just throw it on the ground and "waste" it, but I should have known better with my little carnivorous baby, who ate it right up ;)

This week's "Miscellaneous cuteness" segment is dedicated to the jumpsuit I came across in one of her drawers. We were like, "What IS this?!"... and it was so inexplicably absurd that it clearly meant (to us) that we should dress her in it for Sunday family dinner, where Ryan's sister Alyson informed us that this was part of a butterfly Halloween costume. Oh. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

48 Weeks

This week, Audra fully switched over to walking, and has barely been crawling at all now (and has mostly dropped the knee-walking too!). So she is just a walkin' fiend now, doing laps all over the place, carrying things, moving things... she even started picking up the pace (already!), and there have been a few running steps mixed in there on occasion.
[She apparently needed to move my boots to the other side of the room]
Audra is definitely still in the throes of a clingy phase, which sort of worked out fine last week. For Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law had given us month passes for the pool at the rec center where Josie had her 3rd birthday party, so we are bound and determined to get our/their money's worth from it. Since we are also doing a spending challenge this month (Frugal February!), we decided that we'd use the passes this month, to get us out of the house and give us something fun to do on the weekends now that we won't be going out to eat (or anything else that costs money) for all of February. So we all went to the pool on Sunday for the inaugural pool day, which was a little funny since we went to Ryan's parents' house after naps, ate some dinner, and then left just as the Super Bowl was starting so that we could go to the pool instead ;)

This was Audra's first time in the pool, and she was THRILLED. Best day ever for her. She had lots of fun splashing and walking around the toddler play area, but really decided her favorite was when I put her on her belly and carried her around that way to let her "swim". So she adorably splashed with her hands and kicked (usually with just one leg) as we wandered around the pool, going wherever her little pointer finger was pointing ;) Ryan and Josie have also been going to the pool during the week while I stay home with Audra... so coming back to her being in a clingy phase, this is an ideal situation for Miss Audra right now, since she gets my (almost) undivided attention with it being just the two of us in the evenings. So we eat dinner together, I brush her teeth (which she still chortles for, so cute), then we both clean up all the food she's thrown on the floor (me, with brush and dust pan, her, usually trying to eat everything I've collected in the dust pan), and then I see how far I can get with evening chores before she starts getting too upset. And once that happens, into the carrier she goes, which usually calms her right down. I just can't carry her for too long before it starts bothering my shoulders and back too much. But until then, she peers over my shoulder as I clean up, and throws an arm around my neck and gives me kisses :)
[The Elsa braid is my attempt to keep her from yanking on my hair the whole time]
[Demanding yet another clementine]

The biggest obstacle for my sleep this week was... my throat. I came down with some other disease last week, and it involved my throat being so sore that I couldn't sleep. So while Audra slumbered next to me, I got to look at her peaceful face, at least, but beyond that was just uncomfortable and frustrated that I couldn't sleep. She did fine last week though - one night where she only woke four times (with an over 4-hour stretch in there), and a couple other nights where she only woke once in a 5-hour stretch. Sometimes I look back to earlier blog posts, and reading the ones from when Audra first started waking so frequently is kind of horrifying, with just how exhausted I was and how much I struggled with it. We've settled into a situation that works well for us now, and I'm so glad I seem to have adapted to waking so frequently (and where I've adjusted my expectations so that a 4-wakeup night is a good one!), since it's really a non-issue for me now... unless I can't get back to sleep. So this week I was back to the horrible exhaustion for a few days, which reminded me just how awful that zombie state was.

This week I also put some shoes on Audra for the first time, and - since she already looked so grown-up - I thought I'd take it even further and stuck her in a proper coat too ;) She doesn't know quite what to make of the shoes once they're on her feet, but she is certainly interested in them otherwise. She has been trying to figure out the velcro, and spent quite a while the other night trying to unvelcro them herself. She also likes to hand me her shoes so I can put them on her, when she then kicks her feet around and takes them right back off again (before handing them to me to put back on her, of course).
[She had measuring to do, in her new (to her) coat and shoes]

Audra has been saying "uh-oh" preemptively now, which is silly but at least useful so I have some warning she's about to drop something ;) She also has climbed up onto one of the other kid chairs we have that has a higher back, which I noticed when she suddenly loomed over the dining room table the other night... and when I went over to see what she had gotten herself into, I was greeted with the sight of her standing backwards on the chair, holding onto the back as she rocked herself back and forth - crazy kid. She has been playing independently more lately, and happily entertains herself moving from room to room, leaving chaos (or at least a mess) in her wake.

I picked her up from daycare once last week again, and she always seems a little shocked to see me there. She was happy to see me but it seemed like she almost couldn't process it - while I was holding her, she'd be looking away from me for a while before suddenly looking back at me in wonderment, with a big, open-mouthed smile on her face. She does that sort of thing anyway though, which is awesome - I'll be holding her and looking at something else, and suddenly notice Audra has moved so her face is right in front of mine, as she looks at me expectantly, waiting for me to notice her and boop her on the nose :)

We brought Audra along to a birthday party for one of Josie's school friends last weekend, and Audra had a really fun time there too. She walked all over the place, climbed onto or rode some of the smaller toys there, and was quite excited about a tunnel under one of the slides. She followed one of Josie's friends under the slide, and by time I had walked around to the other side, she was hugging the other girl :) Not entirely clear if it was reciprocal, but it was sweet nevertheless ;)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[A little perplexed by Ryan and Josie's shenanigans just off camera]
[Playing coy with her Aunt Alyson]
[Definitely not helping with laundry]