Nine Months

9 months old!!

9 months old!!

I feel like I just wrote Jane’s eight month update and already it’s time for the next one.  Time is flying by so quickly, and already my little baby is beginning to leave infancy behind and enter toddlerhood.  I’m not ready.

Jane’s development has exploded this month; she can now clap and wave, she has started cruising along furniture, she has another tooth, has started to enjoy solid foods, is sleeping better, and wants to walk.  She loves it when we rub our heads on her belly, it makes her laugh and laugh!  She loves her learning table, the vacuum, and stacking blocks.  She is getting into all of the cupboards (we still haven’t baby proofed!!), she loves to open and close doors, and falls or tips over at least once a day.  She also knows her name and loves to dance.  I’ve been trying to teach her baby signs, but they don’t seem to have sunk in quite yet.  We are so in love with her that it is beyond words.

Height: 28 inches, 75%-ile

Weight: 23 pounds, 95 %-ile

Head Circumference: 75%-ile

Shoe size: 3

Diaper size: 4

Clothing: 9 or 12 month clothes.  She’s still got some nice baby chunk on her, so she’s a little too squishy for some 12 month clothes but she’s too big for her 9 month clothes, too.  What an awkward fitting stage!

Sleep: Hyland’s teething tablets are our friends.  If I give them to Jane before she falls asleep at night, we have a much better night.  She generally goes to bed between 7:30 and 8 and wakes again between 11pm & 1 am, and then again between 3 and 4 (when she comes to bed with us), after which she sleeps really restlessly and cluster feeds.  Then she’s up for the day at 7:30!  She takes two naps now, around 10:30 and between 2:30 & 4, depending on the length of her morning nap.  I really like this routine that we have right now; there’s enough awake time to go out and run errands or meet up with a friend before we need to get home for a nap, and if we do happen to be out, she still falls asleep easily in the Ergo.

Milestones: See first paragraph.

Jane loves her new swing!

Jane loves her new swing!

Challenges: I still love cloth diapering, but I am not loving cleaning up her solid ingesting poo.  As a result, she usually wears a disposable in the morning (when she’s most likely to poop), that way I can avoid having to wash out a stinky diaper.  Jane has been feeling pretty yucky with this bout of teething (4 trying to come in at once, so far only one has poked through), so keeping her happy (and her nose clear) has been a little trickier than usual.

Successes: Improvement in sleep!

Teething

Teething sucks. My poor sweet baby has all of the classic teething symptoms: runny nose, nasal congestion, poor sleep, red bottom, drool, low grade fever, and irritability. I feel so badly for her but nothing we have tried seems to help. There are four teeth currently torturing her right now with no sign of relenting (one had cone through and there is another just below the surface). I pray that she catches a break soon because none of us have slept more than two hours at a time in what seems like ages.

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And although she is in pain and feels icky, she continues to be such a sweetheart and give lots of cuddles.

The Sweetest Things

Jane does so many endearing little things on a daily basis and it just breaks my heart that I will not remember every one of them.  I try to treasure these days as much as I possibly can, but the time flies by just so fast that I feel like I can’t absorb everything.  I really wish that life had a pause button so that I could savor this time even more, but I guess that’s why I journal/blog, so that I can remind myself of this sweet time for years to come.

Jane has four teeth coming in right now, which means that she is sleeping extra horribly again, and the other night she was having trouble staying asleep in her crib.  So, as is typical if I’m ready to go to bed and she’s having a rough time, I brought her into our bed.  I began to nurse her, but she still wasn’t able to settle in and sleep.  Finally, I turned over and laid her between Andrew and me and as soon as she could feel both of us, she passed right out. It was too precious for words.

Eight Month Update

P1110558Our little darling is now eight months old.  How is that possible?  It seems like just last week that our house was filled with people who wanted to meet our brand new baby girl.  Jane continues to be a delight; she is such a sweet and loving little girl who fills our hearts with so much joy.  She loves Harrison, and loves it when Andrew chases him with her in arms.  She gives open mouth kisses and is a very social baby.  She is easily entertained when we are out and about and rarely fusses unless I leave the room for a moment.  She loves her Fisher Price learning table and shape sorter, as well as her stacking cups.  Anything that makes noise is sure to entertain her for hours.  We love her more and more each day and are so thankful for the tremendous blessing that she is.

Weight: 22 pounds, 3 ounces (just under the 97%-ile)

Height: 27.5 inches (75%-ile)

Diaper size: 4

P1110532Clothing size: 6-9 or 6-12 month.  I’m going to have to buy her some 12 month pajamas ASAP, though.

Shoe size: 3.  She’s starting to wear shoes more often and thankfully her feet have thinned out a bit, because even though she fit lengthwise, her little piggies were too round to fit in the appropriate shoes until recently.

Sleep: Jane is doing about the same as last month; she sleeps on her belly at night, but comes into bed with us in the middle of the night.  She typically goes down around 8, wakes at 10, and then between 12 & 2, which is when she comes to bed with us.  It’s nice to start her out in her own bed so that she’s used to it when she does finally stay in her room all night, but I love waking up to her sweet smiling face (between 7:15 & 7:45), so I’m not overly anxious to keep her in her crib all night long.  Although we still hold her for most of her naps, I’ve had some success this month putting her down during her longer nap.  She usually takes two naps, three if they’ve been short ones.

Jane & Nana

Jane & Nana

Milestones: Although she’s not full on crawling, she is able to move around and scoots and turns on her bottom.  She will push herself backwards on her tummy, spin around, and stretch really far to get what she wants.  I try to offer solids twice a day, usually with fruit in the morning and veggies in the evening.  She really likes green vegetables; pureed spinach and beans have been her favorite foods.  She also likes to chew on stalks of broccoli.  And big news!  She now has two teeth!  We were getting some atrocious sleep the week before they came in, but once I (finally) realized what was going on, Hyland’s teething tablets were our friends and they helped quite a bit.  Unfortunately, Jane has been biting when nursing quite a bit and it hurts.  I’ve tried all manner of tactics to get her to stop, and at a recent La Leche League meeting I was assured that this would be very temporary.  Thank goodness!

Challenges: A rough week or two with very poor sleep before her bottom teeth came through, and biting when nursing.  Ouch!!

Successes: We have adapted to our sleep deprived state and function reasonably well.  Andrew and I are making it a priority to have a real date at least once a month, this month we saw Monument Men while my mom watched Jane.  Life is pretty sweet right now, we fall more in love with Jane every day and are so very thankful that we get to be her parents.

P1110569Post Partum: My stretch marks have pretty much faded and I’ve been back in my regular clothes for quite a while.  My body is much softer now, what little tone I had in my abdomen is gone, and my derriere is quite different, too.  I keep trying to figure out how to get to the gym, but it never seems to happen.  I know that I need to just stop making excuses and make it a priority.

Fail

Tuesday was a rough day that left me feeling like a failure on many fronts.  Jane was on a nap strike that was frustrating and exhausting for both of us.  I haven’t been frustrated with her like that in many months and I felt like I did not love her well.

I acutely felt my difficulty in communicating.  Effectively communicating has always been difficult for me; I’m not sure why, and I know that I have to practice in order to improve, but so often I just end up frustrated.

At the end of the day I opened up Facebook on my phone and was about to bemoan my exhausting and disappointing day when I read some wise words from a friend who was having a day similar to mine.  She chose a positive perspective and to look for the blessings in the midst of the mundane and difficult.  And she found them.  I was so thankful that I read her words before I posted mine and was reminded of one of the great things about parenting: God is refining me through this.  He is using my daughter to expose my ugliness and forcing me to deal with it.  He isn’t doing this to discourage me, He does this to grow me and transform me into His likeness.

In the end, it was still a frustrating day and I didn’t always react well, but God used it.  He used it to remind me of His grace and how many times He extends it to me, and how I must extend it to others.  I am so thankful for grace.

Seven Months Already??

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!

I don’t understand how time is passing by so quickly.  I almost can’t remember a time before our sweet Jane, yet I am astonished at how quickly she has grown.  Her little personality has just blossomed this month.  Previously, she was content to be an observer of everything, but now she is eager to be involved and engaged in what is going on around her.  She flirts with strangers and is very curious about the world around her.  Since she is getting closer to crawling, Jane has figured out how to rock her hips, which she likes to do when I am nursing (it’s so funny!!) and it’s also how she dances.  She is super chatty and continues to charm and delight us; we are absolutely intoxicated by her.  I just can’t get enough of her, which is probably why God finds it fitting to give me extra snuggles with her in the middle of the night.  Ha!

Weight: 21 (ish) pounds (off of the charts)

Length: 27.25 inches (75%-ile)

Head circumference: 45 cm (98%-ile)

P1110389Sleep: Hooray!!!  We have finally made some progress!!  We have started to put Miss Jane on her belly to sleep, and it seems to have helped her sleep in slightly longer stretches, as well as help her settle back in after middle of the night feeds.  This equates to less time in our bed.  We are still holding Jane for pretty much all of her naps, which is actually kind of nice because it means that we can just sit and relax.  She is taking between 2 and 4 naps per day depending on the length, sometimes she skips her morning nap, but she always skips her late evening nap.

Clothing: 6-9 or 6-12 month clothes and very comfortably.

Shoes: 3, but her feet are so chunky that we have a difficult time stuffing her little piggies in them.

Diapers: Size 4

First food... avocado!

First food… avocado!

Milestones: Jane is now a regular in the church nursery, eats some solid foods, scoots, and has a pincer grasp.  She isn’t too keen on solids, but she does like playing and making a mess!  We have tried avocado, steamed carrots, butternut squash, pears, steamed zucchini, spinach, and banana.  She likes the steamed veggies since she can feed herself, and although she lets us spoon feed her, it isn’t her favorite.  She would much rather handle the spoon herself.  As a result of introducing solids, Harrison is a lot more interested in her now!

Successes: Some improvement in sleep and just being able to enjoy spending time with my sweet baby girl.

Jane in a dress that I wore as a baby.

Jane in a dress that I wore as a baby.

Challenges: It is so difficult to leave her!  We are so blessed to have so much family close by that we do not have to utilize day care, but I would still much rather never have to leave her to go to work.  I am thankful for the work that I do and for the honor of caring for babies and their families in times of crisis, but it a lot harder than it used to be.

Christmas with all of the cousins.  They're so cute!!

Christmas with all of the cousins. They’re so cute!!

Reflections

Six years ago I underwent major surgery to resect a spinal tumor and subsequently have a spinal fusion. I had surgery a few months prior attempting to remove the tumor, but it wasn’t completely successful, so more surgery, radiation therapy, and physical therapy was required.

It’s strange that such a significant event in my life seems completely unreal now. Sometimes I wonder if it really even happened; but the hardware, radiation tattoos, and scars on my hip, back, and side bear witness to the fact that it did, indeed, take place. I was at a funeral tonight where I saw several people who I haven’t seen in many years and they all asked about my back. It caught me so off guard at first, but it served as a reminder that I am surrounded by an amazing community of believers.

As I rock my daughter to sleep I am taken back to the night before my surgery when my wonderfully kind ICU nurse held my hand as I cried out of nervousness and fear. I remember saying “Go Patriots” as I came out of anesthesia during a pre surgical procedure when I heard the staff discussing the upcoming Super Bowl. I remember that I was not at all lucid during the game (2 days after surgery). I remember another tremendously kind ICU nurse who took the time to really engage with me and my family and who came to visit me when I was moved to the regular floor. I remember a horrid nurse who treated me like my pain didn’t matter and like I was a bother. No, I will never forget her or the x-ray tech who slammed a tray on my freshly post operative incision. I will never forget the kindness of Drs. Portugal and Olavarria who treated me like their family and who went above and beyond to make sure I had the best care possible. I will never forget how Andrew and my family took care of me.

I could go on and on about the things that I remember from that time, and one day I will write down more of them. But the one thing that I hope that I will never forget is how God provided and how faithful He was and continues to be.

Confessions of a Mom

I do everything that you’re not “supposed” to do: co sleep or put her to sleep on her belly, nurse to sleep, and hold her as much as I can.

I mourn each milestone as much as I celebrate it (sometimes more). Jane getting her teeth was just one more reminder that she will not be my little baby for long.

Very often I forget to take her weekly or monthly picture, so I take it late…. Or not at all.

I function remarkably well on a remarkably small quantity of uninterrupted sleep.

Many times Andrew now has to wake me when he hears Jane cry at night. I guess my super sonic mom hearing has disappeared.

I always said a first birthday party was a waste, but I’m already planning Jane’s.

I get bored sometimes.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t put Jane down in her crib for a nap, so I have to remind myself that I will miss this one day and to enjoy it while I can.

This is the best job ever. Bar none.

Home Now

This has been a tough week for so many people. I’ve heard several reports of people losing loved ones, and our family was one of them. My grandmother and Andrew’s uncle went to be with the Lord this week. Please pray for comfort for those left behind. While we will miss them greatly, we know that we will see them again one day and that they are healthy and whole in the presence of their Savior. And for that, I am thankful.

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Jane and Grandma meeting at Thanksgiving

Remember

There are many people who say that nursing a baby to sleep is a bad idea. They say it forms negative sleep associations and you should really put the baby to bed when they are awake. Perhaps the baby will need to self soothe to sleep, or maybe she will fall asleep easily, but put her down awake.

I am not, however, one of the people that says that. I almost exclusively nurse Jane to sleep. This began out of necessity when she was a newborn and had continued because (a) it’s easy, (b) it works almost without fail, and (c) I only have this day with her and holding/nursing her will soon be but a memory.

We don’t have a perfect system. Shoot, just about the time I get cocky and think I have her figured out, she changes. But that is just one more reason to absorb her sweetness every chance I get.

I am so blessed.