Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seven Months: A Letter.

Dear Nora Girl,

This week, you turned seven months old!
Here are some of the highlights of your seventh month:

-Biggest accomplishment of the month: YOU CAN PUT YOUR PACI BACK IN YOUR MOUTH ALL BY YOURSELF.  And the angels rejoiced.  ;)
-A few weeks ago, we took you to the doctor for an eczema outbreak, so they did your height and weight then.  You weighed 19.5 pounds and you were 28ish inches long.  
-You are wearing 9-12 month clothing.
-I hear all the time how sweet your little personality is as it starts to shine through.  You are pretty calm and content to just look at your surroundings with a smile, and I personally think you have the kindest eyes.  They just exude kindness to me.  I love them.  I am biased, but that's okay.  :)

-You are nursing only about 5-6 times in a day now, but you are starting to eat more baby food at each sitting.  
-So far, you have been pretty pleased to try just about any veggie or fruit, and you love yogurt, too.
-The time between nursings is stretching out to closer to 3.5-4 hours regularly, and we helped you drop your early morning feeding at around 4:30am.  Now, you nurse when we start the day at 6:30ish instead.  Woo hoo!
-You nurse around 6:30am, 10:30am, 3pm, 6:30pm and a dreamfeeding at 10pm.  I am SO reluctant to give up that dreamfeed.  I love one last sleepy snuggle with you before going to bed.  Sigh.  You are so still and soft, and you just turn into me and snuggle in for a late night snack while you keep dreaming away.  Sometimes you'll open your eyes and find mine in the dark, and you just beam up at me as if it's the first time you've seen me all day.  I treasure these few minutes each night.  

-You wake up for the day now around 6:30am, nap around 8:30am, another nap around 1pm, and sometimes you'll take an early evening catnap around 4:30pm before going to bed for the night at 6:30pm.
-For naps, you are unswaddled, but we still swaddle you from the waist down at night just to keep you nice and snugly.  You also sleep with about three pacis in your crib. ;)

-You spent a day with Mimi and Papa and took some good naps with Papa on the porch swing.  Aunt Rachel and cousin Daisy came over for a day, and you two finally locked eyes and got a good look at each other.  We introduced you to lots of Daddy's family this month.  Also, you went for your first dip in a pool...and hated it.  It was pretty comical, though.  ;)  Overall, we had a relaxing month spending time with friends and family.  You just made it all that much sweeter!

I love you so very much, my little buddy, and I can't wait to see what next month brings!  You are precious, and I thank God for letting me borrow you for awhile.

Love you forever,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bringing Home Baby #2.

A reader and family friend is expecting her second baby soon, and her kiddos will be 24 months apart.  She asked if I would blog about bringing home my second (and third) babies and what it was like for the family and the older sibling(s).  I am NO parenting expert and can only write from our experiences, but if you are in the same phase of life as she, I hope this helps!  (Would love to hear any other tips in the comments, too!)

E was 17 months old when we brought D home from the hospital, and D was 28 months when we brought N home, so I've been where you are...twice!  ;)  The best advice I received was to defer to your older child for awhile.  What I mean by that is that your baby won't know if you are choosing someone over him/her....but your big kid will.  Just for awhile, if your big kid needs something, wants to show you something, is sad, whatever, give him your attention first and foremost as best you can.  Obviously, if the baby needs feeding or is screaming it's head off, then this advice is useless.  But during the down times, let your older child know you still see him, notice him, want him by giving him your attention.  The baby can sleep and not notice anything at all...but your first born will be made to feel so much more secure if he sees that his Mommy still knows he is there.

Another tip I'd pass along is to just give yourself and your whole little family some grace in those first sleepy weeks.  Your big kid will act out in one way or another.  Might be misbehaving, might be lots of whining, might be fits, might be a little bit of everything.  It's just going to happen.  The degree to which it happens is a variable you won't be able to predict, but, if you go into it knowing your kiddo is bound to have some struggles, then you won't be so flabbergasted when it does happen.  Extend him some grace.  His whole world is different now, too.  

Extend your hubby some grace.  Chances are, he's going to feel like the last man on the totem pole for awhile while people rightly spend time fussing over you and the new baby and the older brother.  Remember him.  Let him help in any way he can or wants to, and, biggest tip here, let him take the lead on parenting your big kiddo for awhile.  You need the time with your baby to bond and rest and snuggle and learn each other.  This is the PERFECT time to let Dad take over and have some special time with big brother!  They'll both love it, I'm sure.

Most importantly, extend YOURSELF lots and lots...and lots and lots...of grace.  All of this will be new to you, too.  You need time to heal, let your hormones work themselves into order, and to learn your new baby.  This was so hard for me at times, but let others help you in the way they want to help.  So what if your clean dishes end up scattered all over your kitchen after a helping hand puts them away for you.  Consider it a fun scavenger hunt.  ;)  If your family member is a good baby holder, run for a quick shower.  If someone offers to clean, let them.  Sweet heavens, let them!  Everyone wants to help, and that help looks different on everyone.  I thought I needed to prove to everyone that I could do all the things the first time I brought home a baby.  Oh, silly, silly Erin.  :)  

Lastly, your littles will learn to coexist happily over time.  The best gift you can give your child is a sibling, because they learn on each other how to behave in the world around them.  The first time I caught a glimpse of my eldest girls starting to actually play together independently of me was like receiving the biggest pay check in the world.  Your kiddos are so blessed to have one another.

Just push through those sleepy, blurry first few weeks and months, all the while extending everyone around you a bit of grace.  None of you know what to do, and you are learning together...finding your new normal as a family of FOUR!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Six Months: A Letter.

Little Nora Cait,

You are six months old!  Half of a year!  Wow.  I am flabbergasted at how quickly you are heading towards your first birthday, and, while I assumed this big six month milestone would be sad for me, I am actually feeling quite celebratory.  We made it!!!  During those sleepy, overwhelming first few months of having three kids, I told myself that I just needed to survive until the gloriously stabilizing six month mark...and look!  We did it, Nora!  We not only survived, but we thrived, and I couldn't have done it without my little smiley buddy.
Here are some of the highlights of your sixth month!
-Not sure on your height and weight as we don't go to the doctor for another week, but I do know that you are way too big/long for your six month clothing.  You usually wear 9-12 month items, especially if the clothes have to button over your diaper, like onesies and rompers.
-You are wearing size three diapers....and should have been for awhile.  Oops.  :)
-You are a chunky, squishy baby with lots of rolls.  I LOVE THIS.
-Your hemangioma continues to grow, although it still seems to cause you no trouble at all.
-Over the last month, you have started to learn to sit up a little bit more, and you enjoy jumping in your jumper toy.  However, you seem to have lost the ability to roll from back to tummy, and this makes you MAD sometimes.  I have no idea why you forgot how to do it!'ve learned to nap on your tummy.  :)
-Your feedings have decreased in frequency a bit with about six feedings per 24 hour periods.  You nurse around 8, noon, 4, 7, dream feeding at 10, and one more time around 5am.
-Over the last month, you have tried a variety of baby foods, and you are getting the hang of tasting new flavors and textures.  You are a big fan of apples, peas mixed with pears, and sweet potato with a touch of cinnamon.
-You usually nurse both sides, and it takes you maybe all of five minutes.  You and your sisters.  Gulpers, I tell you.

-We've noticed a significant change in your sleeping patterns this last month, especially regarding nap time.  You've taken it down from around 4-5 naps a day to only 3.  You sleep from about 9am-11am in the morning, another nap from around 1pm-3pm, and a final cat nap around 5:30pm until you go to bed for the night around 7pm.
-Like I said, you have started napping on your tummy most of the time since you refuse to flip back over to your back, and you used to put up quite a fight.  But I am also a bit stubborn, and I refuse to flip you back over three million times a, now you are a tummy napper.  And, guess what?  That's when your naps lengthened out from only being about 45 minutes long to now closer to two hours, sometimes three.  Bam.  WIN WIN for everyone.  ;)
-You've napped in church nursery a few times, but only if someone is rocking you.  Since you take your daily naps tucked away in a nice, quiet, dark, cozy closet, I can't blame you for not wanting to sleep in the CHAOS of the nursery.  Meh.  We'll push through.  You don't scream and cry in the nursery...but you also don't sleep.  Makes for an interesting Monday, that's for sure.   ;)
-You are still swaddled loosely from the waist down in your muslin blankets and seem to like it.  Also, you are taking to your paci more and more, and there have been a few times that you've pulled it out of your mouth only to figure out how to pop it right back in.  A skill I am SO READY for you to learn.  :)
-We celebrated Daddy's first Father's Day as a Dad of THREE beautiful daughters.  Love.
-Your Aunt Schmoo and cousin Charly came to visit us twice!  You two little girls will have so much fun together in no time.  You also got another little cousin this month, baby Daisy!  All these girls!
Sweet Nora, you show such a happy, sweet, peaceful spirit, and your smiley, gentle eyes get me every time.  You are beautiful and lovely and just plain wonderful.  Your squeals, your laughter, your cankle rolls, your wet kisses on my chin...sigh.  I can't get enough of you.

Happy six months.  WE MADE IT!!!
Love you forever,