Saturday, January 31, 2015

8 months / 35 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!

{Eeeek, I'm over a week late with this post!}

With a mega-watt smile, and a personality to match it, she is one bright little girl in every sense of the word.  And we are soooooo lucky to get to spend our days watching her make new discoveries and constantly learn new things.

Dearest Emily, you are the perfect combination of smart, sweet, silly & strong!  Daddy and I love you so much and enjoy watching you grow, day by day!  Happy 8 Month Birthday!

Funny enough, Emily's 8 month and 35 week birthdays fell on the same day!

But seriously, how is my little baby so big already???

All About Emily:
  • Measures 18 lbs 12.5 oz {73rd percentile}, 28.5” {92nd percentile}, 43.5 cm {52nd percentile} -- I am so proud at how well she's growing!
  • Has THREE teeth!
  • Wears size 9 months footies, size 3 diapers, and clothing in 6/9 months sizes.  Her cute little biscuit feet seem like they're outgrowing her body though, and some of her socks are 12 month sizing!
  • LOVES her jumper!  She jumps so energetically in that thing that it sometimes makes me dizzy to watch her!
  • Is pretty bored with staying on her play mat {despite all the toys she has to keep occupied!} and is now crawling all around the apartment -- her favorite places to head to are the pantry, the recycling bin in the kitchen, and the hallway.
  • Continues to have some separation anxiety, which is developmentally appropriate at this age and means she has established a strong and loving bond with us, but hard nonetheless when it causes otherwise-unnecessary tears.  :(
  • Enjoys shaking, banging, dropping, and throwing any item she can get her hands on!  Emily finds it extra fun to drop items off the side of her high chair, and bang her toys on the ottoman we have in the living room.
  • Can now very easily pull herself up to a standing position, and even took a cruise along the length of the couch last week while holding on!  In early January, she began trying to go "hands free" while standing -- quite a little daredevil!
  • I think she might be starting to understand what "no" means, but there is still lots of room for improvement here.  ;)  Babbles a little bit, but spends much more time observing and taking information in versus "talking".
  • Has a great sense of humor and loves being silly with Mommy & Daddy.
  • Enjoys looking at and reading books, and singing songs {especially ones with hand motions}
  • Loves chewing on tags and her high chair safety strap.  Over the past month she's started occasionally nibbling on her thumb.  It isn't really sucking, since her mouth is open, but more of a little chewing motion.
  • Turning into a little cuddlebug!  Over the past month, she's started coming over to us and laying her head down on our legs {if we're sitting on the couch near her play area} or our shoulders {if we're holding her}.  My heart melts every time...
  • Graduated to a rubber ducky tub that sits in our actual bathtub.  No more bathing inside the kitchen sink!
  • She's tried a bunch of news foods over the past month, including mangos {not a fan}, apples {which she likes mixed with other foods but not on their own}, and some Stage 2 purees!  She loved the squash, peas & pears combo and all of the proteins {turkey, chicken, lentils} she's tried so far too!  There doesn't appear to be any correlation between fondness of the food and messiness of the face.  ;)

Since Miss Em is a lot more mobile these days, we found ourselves having to do some childproofing, stat!  We switched all of our outlets to "safe plates", installed locks on the lower kitchen cabinets and the cabinets in our entertainment unit, got locking mechanisms for the pantry doors and fastened the TV and some of our heavier/taller furniture pieces to the wall.  Phew, just in time!

When Emily was born, everyone was all "Oh, she's Shep in a dress!".  They looked like twins from different decades in some of their newborn pictures.  As she grew older, some people began commenting that she's starting to look more like me, which I chalked up to them being nice.  But, as time goes on, I do see a little more of myself in her every day.  Here's one photo I took of Em that reminds me of some of my own baby photos.

This past month was big for both Emily & Mommy.  I went back to work, just 2 days before Emily's 8 month birthday.  Until that time, I could count on both hands the number of times I'd been away from her, and could probably count on fingers and toes the total number of hours.  Well, after just one partial week back at work we were separated longer than we'd been her entire life until then!  It was definitely hard, but we both survived!  Emily did slightly better than Mommy in terms of coping, I'm sure.  ;)  Here's a photo of the two of us from my last night of maternity leave!  Sniff, sniff...

The past 8 months have been the most fun-filled, emotional, sentimental, amazing, exhausting and wonderful 8 months of my life!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


For the proper effect, this post should be read to the sound of Gloria Estefan singing "Get On Your Feet".  ;)

Guess what everybody??

Over the past week or so, Emily has had some brief moments of adventure where she's actually LET GO of whatever she was holding onto for balance to stand up.  I'm pretty sure that at first she did it unknowingly, due to being distracted by whatever toy she was holding {or trying to eat} at the time.  But whether Emily knew she was doing it or not, this mama took notice.  Over time, she also slowly went from clinging onto the ottoman, to standing arms-length away while using both hands to steady herself, to using only one hand for balance.  And so began the exciting/dreaded countdown to her officially being able to stand on her own!  The first few times it happened, she only stood for about a second before she'd realize she wasn't holding on, then wobble and plop down on her tiny hiney.  Once or twice last week she even transitioned from a squatting position to a standing position without holing on!  But on Sunday afternoon she let go of the ottoman she has been leaning on for the past several weeks, and stood independently for what seemed like FOREVER.  As I started counting, I realized it was more like 3 seconds , but do you know how long 3 seconds actually lasts when you're peering with amazement at your little baby doing something incredible?????  3 seconds is pretty impressive for an 8 month old learning to stand, if I do say so myself!!!

In typical Nicole/photo-addict fashion, I immediately wondered when I could officially break out the milestone card.  ;)  I didn't want to get ahead of myself if her little second standing sessions don't "count" as standing -- I'm a first time mom, what do I know about the official rules of standing?!  ;)  A friend made a good point though, which is that if I wait for her to stand for too long, the moment will be gone because by then she'll be taking steps and then it will be time to break out the walking milestone card.  ;)  So, I settled on the 5 second rule.  If it works for food on the ground then I figured it could work for feet on the ground.  ;)  Well, lo and behold, today was the day!

This baby never ceases to impress me!  She is one determined, adventurous, brave, and strong little girl, and I am one incredibly proud mommy!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

34 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 15, 2014 -- Yes I'm over a week late, but better late than never!  Let's just pretend it's still mid-January, shall we??  ;)

The past week was a bit rough.  Both Emily and Mommy have been sick -- 100.4 fevers + stuffy noses + sore throats = not a lot of sleep going on.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that lack of sleep is how Mommy got sick to begin with.  ;)  It all started over the weekend, when Emily had a low grade fever and would not sleep at all in the middle of the night unless she was being held.  I thought she was getting another tooth.  Saturday night was tough.  Sunday night just as tough.  I sat up in the chair in our room holding her from 2am onward both nights.  Then when I woke up with a fever on Monday morning, I realized the weekend’s fever and fussiness wasn’t teething after all.  Luckily, Daddy made it through unscathed and was able to help take care of Mommy & Emily.  :)  By Tuesday & Wednesday nights though, Emily was feeling better and was back to falling asleep like a good girl for bed time and waking up only twice in the night to eat quick and then back to sleep {her normal schedule}.  Mommy was still sick though.  All the stress about Mommy's first day at work was for naught -- I had to call out sick my entire first week!  It's no secret that I wanted more time home with my Emily, but that wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  ;)

Speaking of sleeping, 2 small sleep-related miracles occurred in this house over the past week.  First, last week there was a small stove fire in our apartment building, which thankfully was put out quickly before any injuries or damage were sustained.  However, for some reason neither the building staff nor the fire department could turn the alarm off, which very loudly sounded in our unit for over 30 minutes -- and Emily slept through the whole thing!!!!  I could NOT believe it.  The second crazy sleep experience occurred when she woke up after I laid her down in her crib for the night {which would usually be baaaaaad news} and then sat up and laid down 3-4 times in a row and then she laid down AND WENT BACK TO SLEEP!!  I nearly fainted from the shock as I watched on the monitor.  Fingers crossed that her sleeping skills are finally headed in the right direction!

At 34 weeks young, Emily is using her crawling abilities to venture out off her play mat.  Today, she made it as far as the bar stools!  She also "walked" the entire length of the couch while holding on to the cushions.  This girl is getting more mobile by the minute!  She also has discovered lots of new ways to get intro trouble.... time to do some serious babyproofing!

Occasionally, she will still sit on her play mat, playing with all the wonderful toys she got for Christmas:

This week Emily tried apples for the first time {mixed in with carrots}.  She also tried meat for the first time -- turkey with veggies puree, and LOVED it!  And of course there's her thumb.... which she occasionally attempts to nibble on through her shirt...

Happy 34 Weeks To Emily!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Back to Work

Well, this is it.  My last day of maternity leave.  Well, technically last Monday marked the end of  my leave, but Emily and I were both sick for days so I never actually made it in to work my first week!  Thus, this week is Back to Work -- Take 2!  ... And I'm dreading it.

I love my company, and my team.  I generally consider my teammates friends.  They're good, interesting, smart people, and fun to spend time with.  I get compensated fairly for the work I do, and am valued by my management.  There is tasty food at work, and my commute is pretty easy.  But none of this makes leaving Emily easy, at all.

I get that I'm beyond lucky to have had the time I did with Emily.  Watching her first smiles, holding her in my arms, seeing her grow and develop day by day has been such a blessing.  Especially given the dreadfully non-existent parental leave most employees in this country receive {click for link}, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.  Yet the nearly 8 months I've had at home with Emily simply don't seem enough.  They've passed too quickly -- in the blink of an eye.  There was so much I wanted to do, and so many more daytime snuggles I want to share.  I have many beautiful memories, and some funny ones too, of time spent with my Emily during my leave.  Scenes in my mind that I'll never forget.  But I don't want them to be memories.  I don't want this special time to be over!

Aside from the sentimental, let's be practical -- I have absolutely no idea how to be a working mom.  I'll be brutally honest; I don't even know how I'm going to get up, dressed and out the door at a reasonable time tomorrow!  Most of my days have been spent in my PJs, until at least noon!  A few months ago I read a very sweet piece of advice from The Today Show's Natalie to Savannah {click for link}, and have tried to take many of the lessons to heart.  I also got some good advice from some fellow moms at work.  It all seems so daunting though.

And on top of all that, I worry about Emily and whether she'll adjust to daycare and drink her bottle, or cry and be sad and afraid that I've abandoned her.  A little dramatic, yes, but infants can be dramatic!!  I will miss her so dearly, every single minute of my day tomorrow!  I'll wonder what she'll be doing or thinking, hoping she's smiling but missing that too.

My plan is just to take one step at a time, but I will tell you right now the hardest step is going to be that first one out the door in the morning.... no stroller in tow, with tears in my eyes.  I'm crying just thinking about it.

Wish me luck . . .

Thursday, January 8, 2015

33 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at me, I'm Thirty THREE {weeks old} !!!

Mommy tries to use her cute little sign with me to commemorate my weekly birthdays, but I keep trying to grab it!  So, she had to get creative and I got mad I couldn't reach it.

Here I am, happy again, because I forgot all about the sign and I love standing up on the couch!!!

This was a big week for me!
  • I transitioned out of my newborn tub into a bigger infant ducky tub where I can sit up on my own while I'm bathing!  I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet, but I'm keeping an open mind.  ;)
  • On 1/2, I decided to try out my new year's resolution.... I fell asleep at 8pm and slept until 1:40am!  When Daddy couldn't get me back to sleep, Mommy fed me at around 2am and afterward I fell back to sleep and she slept until 8:06am!  Woohoo!!!  A 5:41 stretch followed by a 5:24 stretch -- best sleep in a loooong time!  Mommy & Daddy are considering throwing me a party to celebrate! ;)
  • I spent my first few days at daycare, and so far -- knock on wood -- everyone is surviving!
  • I tried pureed mangos {bleck!} and also graduated to Stage 2 purees!  My first one was a squash, peas & pears combo, and I loved it {yum}!
  • I went grocery shopping with Mommy & Daddy and sat in a cart like a big girl!

  • Got my second flu shot, and barely cried!  The nurse had that needle in and out and my band-aid almost on before I even realized it!  I let out a little 1-second groan after I realized what happened, but by the time Mommy picked me up off the table I was fine!  I measured:  18 lbs 7 oz (with clothes & diaper on, 75th percentile), 28.5” long (97th percentile!), and 43.5 cm head circumference (62nd percentile)

Daycare Day #3

After debating whether I should continue with the 5-6 hours per day dropoff schedule after Emily's rough day on Tuesday, I decided to press forward.  I didn't know for sure if I could stomach it, but she's going to have to get used to daycare eventually, so I figured I may as well not send her the incorrect message that if she doesn't like it, it'll go away.  Ahhhhh, if only life were that simple.  ;)

I left Emily at daycare until 3:30 yesterday, which was a total of 6 hours.   She drank a grand total of 5 oz of milk during that time, which was slightly better than the day before.   The teachers said she drinks it eventually, they just have to keep squeezing it into her mouth every so often to remind her to suck it and grab her attention again.

When I walked in to pick her up, one of the teachers was carrying her around.  When Emily saw me appear for pick-up she didn't cry, nor did she smile; she immediately reached for me and did one of her little grunt moans.  I went to kiss her and noticed she had the trace of a tear stream on her cheek.   I asked if she'd been crying and the teacher said she was because she wanted to be held.  I guess it's good news that at least they did pick her up to give her a little extra cuddling.  I know they can't do that with every baby all the time, but I'm hoping that they give her a little extra attention during her first couple weeks.  She normally is very independent and doesn't really ask to be held during the day at home, so I think she's just looking for some extra comfort in the new environment.  If I had to rate it, I'd say Wednesday was slightly better than Tuesday, though not as successful as Monday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Daycare Day #2

Yesterday was Day #2 at daycare and I went into the day a lot more relaxed after Monday's positive experience.  Shep reported that when he dropped Emily off this morning, she immediately started playing with the toys.  Unfortunately that made it hurt a bit worse when I showed up at daycare to see her sitting in one of the teacher's laps drinking from a bottle (yay!) with what looked like red/teary eyes (boo!).  I stood there for a minute or so watching her, wondering if she had indeed been crying but hopeful that her bottle-drinking was improving.  She finished the bottle and sat up on the teacher's lap, saw me standing there, and immediately started to wimper cry and reach for me.  Which hurt.  A lot.  I could tell right away that she didn't have as happy of a day as she did yesterday, and I felt guilty and stupid for leaving her there for such a large part of the day, totally oblivious to her struggles.  I knew it was a possibility that Day #1 might be easier than the following days due to the novelty and excitement, but I still felt bad that I was at home clueless.

Emily was at daycare for 5.5 hours today, and only drank a grand total of 3.5 oz milk.  Yes, that's better than yesterday!  But definitely not enough considering she hadn't been nursed for almost 2 hours upon arriving to daycare in the morning... so in nearly 8 hours she only consumed less than 4 oz of milk.  No bueno.

Her little daily report said she took 2 x 30 minute naps, which is actually what she's been doing at home these days in the same timeframe.  So while the teacher seemed disappointed in this area, I was neutral.  I was far more concerned with the lack of drinking milk, and obviously the crying.  I feel like they didn't really tell me straight how upset she was during the day or how much she cried (though it's hard to quantify, and obviously subjective).

I asked what happened and they said she started the day fine, but that things sort of went downhill in the afternoon.  The lead teacher said she got woken up from both of her naps from the noise of the room (apparently it was a lot noisier today than yesterday), so I can understand how that might have made her a little bit cranky.  She also got her flu shot Monday afternoon, so that could've definitely contributed to a bad day too (though she seemed fine in the morning before she left).

She was definitely starving and exhausted when we got home.  I fed her and after getting a bit of her excitement energy out to be back home with Mommy, she promptly passed out in my arms.  This daycare stuff is exhausting!

I guess maybe 5.5 hours was too long of a time to leave her there so soon?  But on the other hand, beginning next week she's going to be there for 8 hours per day, and I want her to be ready for that.  Now I'm torn as to what I should do for the next 2 days.... increase the time, or decrease it again.  I want her to be as prepared as possible for next week, but also don't want to make her miserable during our last week at home together.  I think I am going to see how today goes and then take it from there.  Ugh, this mom stuff is hard!  :(

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Daycare Dropoff Day #1

Yesterday was Emily's first day being dropped off at daycare.

The way our center works is that once a child is registered, she gets 2 "transition" days before starting full time.  Friday was our first transition day, which meant that Shep and I brought Emily in for a 45 minute visit.  During this time, she got to play with some new toys and meet some new friends while we filled the teachers in on important tidbits about Emily's habits and behaviors and gave them caregiving instructions.  Overall, it was a pretty successful visit, except that we found out the head teacher (and one of the main reasons why we chose this center) was out on vacation until mid-January, and Emily fell and bunked her head on the floor while trying to stand up against one of the jumpers.  :(

Over the weekend I was a wreck about this big change.  What if they didn't watch her closely enough and she fell and hit her head again?  What if she refused to sleep or drink milk at daycare?  We've been unsuccessful at introducing her to a bottle over the past 7 months..... what makes me think that daycare can get this done in a matter of hours?  And sleep.... fuhgettaboutit.  This child despises sleep.  It takes a large part of every day for me to get her to nap for 30-45 minute segments (sometimes taking 20 minutes to get her to fall asleep for each nap!), and I know they don't have that kind of time to spend getting her to nap.  I spent most of Sunday with my stomach in a knot and tears streaming down my face.  My little baby was growing up way too quickly.  To date, I've only spent a grand total of less than 20 hours away from her over her entire life and now she is going to daycare 3 days a week.  Naps and bottles aside, I didn't know how she'd react to being without her Mommy or Daddy in a new environment.

I knew I'd cry if I took her in, which would only upset her; not to mention make me look silly.  So, we decided that Shep would drop her off in the morning, and I'd plan to pick her up 3 hours later.

After all the stressing, it turns out that at least the first day was a lot harder on me than it was on her. Shep called me immediately after dropping her off, and said that she went right to playing with toys and didn't cry at all when he left her.  Well that was a good start!  So I did all I could to distract myself for the 3 hours -- first I got lost in some new mom support forums while I ate some cereal; then I put together a "simple" chili recipe in the crock pot (which took me forever because I both suck at and hate cooking!); and then I treated myself to what was meant to be a super long shower including washing my hair and shaving (gasp!), only to come out and find that what felt like an hour long shower lasted only 15 minutes!  But, the good news is that by the time I blow dried my hair and got dressed, it was time to go pick her up!  The 3 block walk to the center was especially quick; I had a spring in my step due to excitement to go see my little girl!

When I got there I spotted her right away and smiled at her, and she didn't smile back but instead looked a little confused -- perhaps wondering what I was doing there or where I appeared from?  I put out my arms to take her from the day care teacher and for a split second she turned her head away from me to the teacher's shoulder (which she does a lot when I'm holding her and someone else comes over to see her). I guess that means that she was comfortable there, which is a good sign!   But then she quickly smiled and reached for me, and holding her in that minute was the best part of my entire day, and erased all my worries away.  I was just so happy to see her.  Even though the 3 hours went by quickly on the one hand (I didn't get a chance to get the laundry or dishes done that I had hoped to do!), it seemed like forever since I'd held and hugged her.

To my incredible surprise (and Shep's great suspicion), she supposedly even took a 50 minute nap at daycare!  This is actually on the longer side of naps that she takes at home, and I was fully expecting her report to show no naps at all, so it was quite a shock to hear!  The teacher said that she fell asleep in the bouncer/rocking chair (which I can believe since she was up most of the night before and was exhausted for sure) and they transferred her to the crib from there.  She woke up when they laid her down (which is typical for her), so the teacher picked her up and rocked her a little bit in her arms to get her back to sleep.  I don't know how long it took the teacher to get her back to sleep, so she likely didn't sleep that whole 50 minutes, but for the first day it's not bad at all.  My only worry is that the teachers have told me they're not supposed to rock the babies to sleep, so I'm not sure how long they will continue to help her in this way.

They also tried to give her some pumped breast milk, which was very minimally successful. 2.5 oz were missing from the bottle I'd sent, but some of that was on the shirt they changed her out of and sent home with me, so I'm not sure exactly how much she actually drank.   The teacher guesstimated 1-2 oz.  First they tried a bottle, which she wouldn't take. Then the teacher tried spoon-feeding her a little bit.  And then finally they used the sippy cup.  This is the area I'm now most concerned about. Today I am going to leave her there for 4-5 hours, and hopefully that will get her hungry enough to use the bottle or sippy cup.  Unfortunately, my office is too far away for me to go to nurse her during lunch so I really hope she learns the sippy cup or bottle in the next 3 days or I'm going to be a mess next week when I go back to work and have to leave her there for 8 hours without eating.   :(  There are still a few more days this week for those daycare baby whisperers to work their bottle-feeding magic, so I'm not giving up hope just yet.  I will be crossing my fingers and holding my breath that she learns to drink.

In the meanwhile, I'm just so relieved that her first day went as smoothly as it did!  I snapped this photo of Emily on the walk home.  A picture is worth 1000 words, and it looks to me like she had a pretty good first day!

Friday, January 2, 2015

32 Weeks Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!  Emily celebrated the start of 2015 by turning 32 weeks young!

On New Year's Eve, Emily woke up a bit after 11pm and as the clock kept ticking toward 11:20, then 11:30, then 11:40, I became nervous I wouldn’t get her back to sleep in time to see the ball drop with Shep!  But, she fell asleep and I laid her back down and got myself back into the living room at 11:58pm, just in the nick of time -- PHEW!

Since we were traveling for Christmas, we spent New Year's Day opening up our Christmas presents to one another.  Emily kept trying to eat the paper and she actually bit off a piece of it before we could stop her!  It got wet and stuck to her tongue and she started gagging!!  Poor baby.  :(  No more wrapped presents for this little girl for a while!

Last weekend, Emily met 14 new cousins on Shep's side of the family, including 2 newborn baby cousins!  She did great and loved meeting all her new family members and playing with other kids!

She is pulling up on furniture more and more -- she really wants to stand up!  On December 30, she pulled herself up to a full standing position in her pack-n-play!  No more hunching over.... this girl means business!  Sitting is for babies, and so last year.  ;)

Emily's Resolutions:
- Sleep more
- Drink from bottle or sippy cup
- Talk (first baby sign language & then hopefully some verbal words!)
- Learn to walk
- Don't scratch my face or mommy's face
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