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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

If at first you don't succeed. . . (Week 25, Day 7)

Update on Solids: We had to take a break. While Maddy seemed to be enjoying them, Sunday night was a disaster- she was up every hour and a half, crying and wanting to nurse. We had no idea if it was teething, the food upsetting her stomach, or both. Whatever it was, it wasn't working, and after a sleepless night, we were starting the week off on an empty tank. So Phil and I decided we should back off the solids and get her back to normal before trying again.
The days off seem to have done us all good, Maddy seems like herself again, and while she's developed a slight cold, her sleep is back to normal and she seems ready for our next round of experiments In the crazy world of real food. Next up: oatmeal!

The biggest development this week is Madeline's enthusiasm for rolling. She's been rolling for awhile, but this week there is a vigor and frequency that is all brand new- she can hardly sit still! She's also learned to scoot, a talent that is allowing her to gain more distance in her explorations. Today when I picked her up from daycare she was happily playing on the floor and gave me a big grin hello. After picking up her things, I turned to collect her, and she was nowhere to be found! Lo and behold , she's found a new favorite spot to hang out- under the children's table! Why do I see endless rounds of hide and seek in my future??

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Lovely Land of Solids (Week 25, Day 2)

Big Milestone this weekend! We started Madeline on solids this weekend. She’s been eyeing our food for a while, and is now sitting up mostly on her own - she’ll still topple over after a while, but for the most part she’s able to hold herself up. So although we are a week ahead of the doctor recommended 6 month mark for starting solids, we thought we’d go ahead and go for it. Saturday morning I left Phil to take care of Maddy, and I marched off to the fancy supermarket to get some organic rice cereal - the specially made for baby kind.
Saturday afternoon, we decided it was time to tackle this next chapter in Maddy’s life. She seemed just as excited as us - we got her all strapped in to the brand new highchair, and she looked at us as if we were about to take a roller coaster ride - her eyes couldn't have gotten wider. With a spoon full of breast milk and rice cereal, we went in for the first bite. Maddy dutifully opened her mouth wide, and let us pour the barely solid mixture in. And then she just looked at us. I don’t think she really knew what to think about the whole situation. We continued in this way, one spoonful at a time, and Maddy became more and more intrigued with the spoon as we continued. By the end, she was trying to grab everything in sight - the spoon, the bowl, her bib, everything. Unfortunately I think the introduction of something new to her system didn't agree with her - she was pretty fussy for the rest of the night, and didn't sleep well through the evening. Of course it’s hard to tell if it from her first solids, teething, or a myriad of other things that she can’t communicate right now.
Sunday, after a lovely morning getting to know the church we are joining as part of Madeline’s Baptism, and a stroll through a wonderful fall festival on a perfect September afternoon, we decide to make Solid Foods Attempt #2. This time, Maddy know’s what’s coming, and she is excited. She seems as excited about the actual food she’s eating this time as the spoon that’s it’s on. And she eats a good portion of the minuscule serving. AND most of it seems to land squarely in her mouth, and stay there.

As with everything else, Phil and I are having a blast with this new stage in her life, and can’t see what the future has to hold now that the options for feeding Maddy have infinitely expanded.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's ALL Wrong (Week 24, Day 5)

Last night I took a break from working all night to do some catching up on reading about my baby girl’s development - Madeline has been eye Mommy and Daddy’s food lately, and as we are getting close to 6 months, it’s time we started testing out solids. So rather than going in completely blind into the experience, I thought I should read up on which foods to introduce first, any tips/tricks I should know about, and what to expect. I pulled out my handy “What to Expect in the First Year” and some other parenting primers to get caught up.After reading a few paragraphs, I was reminded why I had stopped reading word for word every parenting book given to me. While there were definitely helpful tips that I will consider when we make our first journey into real food land, the book also highlighted all the things that I’m doing wrong in raising my abundantly happy and healthy little girl. Some examples:
1. By now, I should be teaching her to drink out of a cup. Not a sippy cup. A real cup. What? My daughter is a little over 5 months old. She can’t sit up by herself, and spends most of her time on her tummy. And I’m supposed to be teaching her to hold until a cup, and drink by herself? Also, the book was insistent I should be feeding her water, which was news to me. I called the doctor today about some bowel issues Maddy was having, and asked about this water thing and if I was missing the boat by not introducing water into my daughters world. The doctor laughed and said that there was no need for me to be concerned.  
2. She should be sleeping fully through the night. Okay, I have to admit I expected that one, but I did not expect the accompanying tails of “behavioral issues” and “development issues” that went along with said fact. I know plenty of people that have children who did not start sleeping through the night until late in the first year, and to be fair, when Maddy is healthy, I am only up with her once in the night. When she’s not healthy - a cold, ear infection, or diaper rash can send her back to her infant days of up several times a night. So while she is not there yet, she’s close. Really close. And I’m pretty sure she doesn't have any terrible behavioral or developmental issues to show for it.
3. We recently bought Maddy an “Exersaucer”. We were really excited about this purchase - Maddy is starting to sit up more and more every day, and loves interacting with her toys. We thought this would be a great way to strengthen her legs, and give her some fun playtime. Apparently that’s wrong too - the books said that too much time in the exersaucer is constraining the the child, and doesn't develop the child’s legs the same way that floor time does.  It also said to not leave the baby in the Exersaucer all day. Well, I’m pretty sure doing anything for too long - including sitting on the couch - is not good for you, and I had not planned on having the Exersaucer replace our parenting duties.
While I hate to admit it, as I’m reading through all the dos and don’t the books have to offer, I keep hearing the motto my Dad repeated over and over again throughout my childhood: “All things in moderation”. These books are providing cautionary tales to all mothers, so that they don’t go to extremes with any one thing. If I tried adhere to every single thing the parenting books told me, I would probably be driving myself (and my daughter) up the wall. And I doubt she’d be any happier.

So now that I've gotten the tips I need to feel confident to move forward with the next adventure in parenting, I’ll close the books for another month or so, and not worry about doing everything right - I’ll just worry about loving my baby and making sure she is as happy as can be.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What's In A Name? (Week 24, Day 3)

It’s another week of work. We've all gotten used to the schedule, gotten over our initial daycare colds, and are now plodding along in our routine. For my husband and I, our time with Maddy is getting more fun every single day - with all her new discoveries, and her abundance of happiness is contagious. Our mornings, though early, are spent playing on the floor and laughing with our daughter. And while Madeline goes to sleeps very early and it’s a struggle to get home, get her changed and fed before she drifts off to sleep, every evening is special, and tonight was even more golden. Maddy was in a great mood at the end of the day - playing with her friend Juliana and giggling and laughing when I arrived at daycare, and became even more excited when we saw me. She is now starting to recognize names - her own and others. When I sat down and talked to her, and asked her what she and Juliana did today, she consciously looked over at Juliana. When you say her name now, she now looks toward you - both to Maddy and Madeline (I was worried she would not know her full name, so this is a blessing!).
Even more than names, she is now starting to recognize faces. She knows Mommy and Daddy. And she LOVES when Mommy and Daddy are with her at the same time. Today, I got her home, and went through our usual nighttime routine - selecting pajamas (she really likes to choose them herself, and shows her approval by trying to get as much of her chosen sleeper into her mouth as possible), changing diapers, nursing, reading a book and singing a song. Tonight, Daddy made it home in time to see Maddy before she went to sleep, and she could not have been more excited to have both of us there - she kept looking from one of us to another and grinning. Daddy even read her a book before bed, and she loved it. I can’t think of many things better in life than watching a man fall in love with his daughter - it is truly a beautiful thing.

As Maddy drifted off to sleep I marveled at the life lottery that I had won with my gorgeous daughter and great husband. Some days are long and hard, but the family I come home to make all of it worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Changes Are Brewing (Week 23, Day 6)

This week has been a whirlwind. Saturday was the final street festival in Chicago that just happened to be right outside our front door, and the weather was glorious. We invited people over to enjoy the festival, and had more children attend the gathering than ever before - oh how life has changed from parties of the past! Maddy was a champ through the whole day, and once again proved what a happy, social baby she is. She even napped during the party- with the noise and commotion right outside her door. I'm hoping its good training for later in life, and she'll be able to sleep anywhere!
Sunday provided a stark contrast to Saturday - it was rainy, cold and dreary, and was the perfect excuse to stay in and watch football, and do some nap time with the baby. Maddy has begun to enjoy sleeping on Mommy's chest again, and mommy doesn't mind one bit.
The rest of the week has been long and hard, with the daily grind really feeling like a grind. Work is manic, and I'm doing my best to keep up. Every day I race out to pick up my girl, and it's my favorite part of the day- her big gummy grins light up my world and I quickly forget all the days challenges and move into 'Enjoying Madeline' time. 
Maddy is in her own routine now and is so close to sleeping through the night. I know big milestones are close- she can almost hold her own bottle, she days from sitting up on her own, and crawling is just around the corner. And it's just about time to introduce solids.

So for now, I'll enjoy our end of the day rendezvous and snuggle fests, knowing they may change before I can blink.