6 Months

                                                                                                                   December 18th, 2014
My little one,          

Where time goes, I couldn’t tell you. I can’t believe we’re at your halfway mark to your first year. As usual, you’ve grown quite a bit this month… alright, maybe not size wise since you’re still barely in 3-6 month clothing (and still in some 0-3 month items!), but you’re development keeps on amazing us.

This month you’ve mastered the back to belly roll. Of course, you decided to roll for the first time as your Daddy boarded a plane for a conference for the week. By the time he was back you had mastered rolling across the floor. For a while you only rolled one direction, but every once in a while I catch you rolling the opposite way.

You also chose the day Daddy left to catch your first cold! Which you then passed onto me. You ran little fevers, had a super stuffy/runny nose, and every once in a while had a wee cough. The majority of the time you were feeling icky you were a sad panda. You hardly smiled, you never laughed, and you were all around grumpy. Sleeping was terrible! You were up almost every hour. It didn’t help that you learned to roll and caught your cold all at the same time. You tried rolling in your sleep and would wake yourself up, only to realize how icky you felt.

Since it was just you and me for the week, I ended up bringing you to the big bed where we snuggled all of those early morning hours. You finally found relief when I rolled you on your belly and showed you how to lay your head down to rest belly down. You almost instantly fell asleep and stayed asleep. Since it was your first time sleeping on your belly, I didn’t get much sleep since I had to continuously check to see if you were breathing. I slept when you started to snore. Another week or so later, you sleep mostly on your side or your belly. We now consider it your preference and sometimes during the middle of the night you’ve wedged yourself up against the side of the crib and need help rolling over.

You’re also more frustrated on your belly. You’ll roll onto your belly, prop yourself up on your knees, and then the rest is still a mystery to you. You always end up face planting into the carpet with a little, “thud.” You can spin yourself around, and now that you’re rolling you have some form of movement, but the crawl still alludes you for now.

You celebrated your first Thanksgiving this month! Grammy & Grampy came down with Auntie Julie and you tried your first taste of mashed potatoes. You got lots and lots of snuggles and you entertained them with lots of silly noises and smiles.

We’ve started letting you explore the world of food, and you’re quite the fan. You loathe baby cereal and want the good stuff. You have tried: toast, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, honeydew melon, eggs, potatoes, green beans, banana and possibly more! You pretty much like everything except eggs. Honeydew melon in your little mesh eater has been one of your favorite things so far! I bet it feels nice on your tender gums.

You drooled up a storm this past month, and were ferocious about having something to chew on at all time. I could have sworn you’d have a tooth by now, but you keep me guessing. Your drool output has slowed down, and you’re not quite as vicious when you gnaw. For now we’ll keep enjoying your tooth-less grin.

We recently joined a gym – just you and I. Daddy goes to his gym at school, but we joined the one right around the block. You’ve had a rough couple of first days, object permanence is something you grasp now, so you know that when I leave the room I’m still somewhere. When I hand you over to the women who work the daycare room you get a sad, almost panicked look and you’ve begun reaching for me. You tend to fuss for a little but usually settle down. I think you’ll do great once everyone gets to know you and vice versa.

You recently got scared for the first time. We ordered a new big living room rug for you to learn to crawl around on, and the when Daddy was crinkling the loud bag it came in, you let out three short terror yelps, and then cried. It was the cutest sad thing to ever happen. Since then you have also gotten scared when Lauren ripped some wax paper off the roll during cookie making.

You’re making new sounds and still like to stick your tongue out. You still absolutely adore Oliver and you squeal with delight when he’s going “Crazy,” he still gets the biggest belly laughs out of all of us.

You’ve been a little easier to put to bed after you got over your cold. You’ll sleep from 8pm to around 8am. Of course,  you’re still waking up every 3-4 hours but you know, you won’t do that forever… hopefully! I think you were just cursed as you’ve inherited both your mine, and your fathers’ bad sleeping habits. Insomnia from him, light sleeper from me… what a combo.

There’s still no rhyme or reason to your day, and you tend to nap whenever you want. It drives me crazy. Once the holiday’s are over I’m going to be cracking down and helping you find a schedule we both can stick to.

The last thing I’d like to tell you about this past month is something that makes me a little sad. We’ve stopped breastfeeding. Our nursing days are over. I kept losing weight, and it just was getting to be too demanding for my body to continue. We made it pretty much to your 6-month mark, which is phenomenal. I miss it terribly and while it makes me sad, I know I’m only doing it so that I can be the healthiest momma I can for you.

We’ve had quite a few trying days this past month, so while it may have been hard, it wasn’t any less special. I hope you know just how special you are to us Emmie.
Your Momma
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After a quick call to the pediatrician last week, we got the okay to start introducing solid food to Claire-bear. We decided to try giving her solid food right from the start; essentially it’s baby self-feeding. Opposed to spoon feeding something like rice cereal, where she learns to swallow first, she’ll be getting mushy broccoli stems and steamed carrots and things of that nature so she will actually learn to chew first and swallow second.

There’s no data suggesting either method is more effective than one another, so our pediatrician was on board for our “Baby-led weaning,” adventure. While I tried a few puree’s with spoons Emerson just wasn’t digging it, so it led us to giving her a banana sliced in stick form. She loved it! She would put it her mouth, mash it around, and spit it back out.

We tried broccoli next, and that was an even bigger hit! She was able to keep some florets in her mouth, and she just kept going back for more. The next morning she sucked on some toast strips and made a sour face when trying scrambled eggs, (I don’t blame  ya kid, Mommy doesn’t like eggs either!)

Over the past week she has really enjoyed exploring food on her own. I’m hoping it leads to an adventurous eater. Only time will tell. And if in a week she isn’t digging the whole, here’s a piece of food do what you will with it, then we can fall back to cereal.

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Show me those Gums

Over the course of the past few weeks Emerson has entered the “I put everything I can in my mouth,” phase. While this is a normal phase for exploration of the world, it can also signal something else; the beginning of teething.

When babies start to teeth they turn from these sleepy, snugly little bunnies into these drooling, slobbery, mood raging monsters. A laugh can quickly turn into a cry, and little gnaws quickly turn into hard chomps.

While the past month Emerson has exuded these early symptoms of teething it hasn’t been until this past week that we really think a tooth is on her horizon. She has ferocious desire – nay, an urgent need to have something in her mouth at all times. Sometimes whatever she can find is sub-par and she makes her frustrations known. As she’s vigorously chomping she’ll expel these exasperated shrieks. She’ll rip her pacifier out just to turn it backwards to chew on the silicon sides and handle. If she loses grip (or interest) in her toys she luckily has her hands to soothe those achy gums.

Another sign that even I was unfamiliar with is decreased appetite. For the past few days it seems that Emerson went from eating every two hours to never wanting to eat. She’ll happily go 4 – even 5 hours between her meals. We still offer her milk every two hours or so, but we’re lucky if she takes even an oz.

It also doesn’t help that she’s at an age where she is easily distracted. If we’re nursing and she hears a new sound, or somebody talking she needs to stop and find the source of the sound. Half the time she won’t go back to nursing afterwards, so our nursing sessions have become very very short!

Since I’m on IV’s we’ve been doing a lot more bottle feeding, so she’s still taking in enough overall milk & formula, not to be concerned… she just likes to take most of her meals in the evening hours. Her prime time for milk guzzling is between 8 and 11 pm. Just yesterday she ate around 10-12 oz in that period alone, half of her daily intake need!

While Emmie may be a bit crankier here and there, we know it’s only because she’s working hard and soon she’ll have a small white cap pushing through her little pink gums. While it’s hard to see her in some discomfort we’ve been basking in the cuteness that is her gummy, tooth-free smile.

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Bath Time

Dear Emerson,
There once was a time,
when you were young,
when bath time approached
tantrums begun.
Wriggling your little naked bum
wailing hysterics have begun
“warm water will soothe,”
they all would say-
but we decided you’d hate us if we bathed you every day.
Sponge baths it was
and quick little wipes,
a hair wash or two
and all was alright.
But soon you started drooling,
and dribbling milk some more,
and that funky smell exuding from your neck
was one we could no longer ignore.
Attempt two at baths had commenced
and suddenly the water you did not resent–
the towel, lotion and clothes were to blame
for the newest decibels of your screaming game!
No matter how quick, no matter how warm
you hated the lotion and screamed up a storm.
It was the opposite to the definition of fun
but to ward off dry skin it had to be done.
We spaced out the trauma with days in between
as you collected gunk and funk, and saved up your screams.
Then, one day when I had a picc in my arm
I took you to the sink, and there was no alarm
there was no screaming, just a stern look about
as you splashed away, happy as a trout.
You played with some toys and tried to steal the wash cup
but you to the sink was like a lake to a pup.
You were able to sit, which was quite an improvement
I’m able to stand so it allows you more movement.
A couple weeks in and you’re still having a blast
and all those screams are a thing of the past.
Now you have coo’s and squeals of delight
when we lotion you up and dress you for the night…
a nice warm sink was all that you needed
a huge tub and cushion limited your freedom.
With our mystery solved we end our rhyme
and hope that you continue to love bathtime.
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The Little Things

I once wrote a post about all the subtle little things you do that force me into a deeper love for you than I ever thought possible. As you get older you’ve phased out of some of those little things and much to my delight, have acquired new ones.
Recently when I nurse you, you move your little hand in an almost dance like manor. Your little hand dances across my chest, feeling my skin, my shirt, my hair and sometimes you reach for my chin. When you’re getting sleepy you like to unfurl your hand and then squeeze it back into a fist, usually with my skin or clothing caught among your tiny, albeit, fierce little grasp. While at first I thought of this as an annoyance I quickly fell in love with this little tendency. As your sleepiness increases your vigorous squeezing decreases and usually I’m left with a small, warm flat hand gently resting somewhere on my chest, or limply tangled in my shirt.

One of my favorite little things you do is when you shy smile. It doesn’t happen often, and it’s often so subtle you could miss it but sometimes in the morning if Daddy gets you up and brings you into our bedroom you meet my “good morning,” with this small, shy, over your shoulder smile. Sometimes it’s coupled with you melting into whoever’s arms and burying your face in that person’s shoulder.
You have a specific face for when Oliver kisses you and I find it hilarious. Without fail, every single time, if he swoops in for a quick kiss you purse your lips, scrunch your nose, close your eyes, raise those brows and and tilt your head bracing for impact. I think this is an upgrade from the wide open mouth you used to greet his kisses with.
The last little thing I hope I never forget is how you cup my face when I lean in to give you kisses. It doesn’t happen every time but when it does my heart completely melts into this puddle of love.

Emerson, there are so many little things you do that make me fall more madly in love with you every day. I hope by writing them down I can come back years from now and remember and appreciate all these small moments that pass so quickly.
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Outdoor Adventurer

It’s no secret that since day 3 of Emerson’s life, she’s been an outdoor enthusiast. We really lucked out with a gorgeous summer and we took full advantage of that fact by spending lots of time outdoors.

As the weather cools down, and she gets older, we started more stroller rides. She is just happy as a clam to sit in her stroller like a big girl and watch the world go by. She could be a fussy, cranky mess inside and as soon as we step through that front door into the fresh air, all is right in the world again.

We’ve been on hikes, strolls, and have visited numerous parks in her short 5 months of life. Each and every time she has loved it. In fact, I actually can’t even recall an instance where we’ve been outside and she’s been fussy. Sure, maybe as soon as we’re in the car on the ride home from the park she’s broken down into a hysterical crying fit, but I don’t blame her. I’d much rather be hanging outside than stuffed in an uncomfortable carseat.

This early appreciation of the outdoors sits really well with me and Kyle. We see ourselves going camping as a family and teaching Emmie all the wondrous things nature has to offer. We’ll teach her how to care for and respect our planet.

The only hiccup in my plan would be if Emerson develops a love for bugs. Kyle, of course, would be thrilled. In theory I’d be thrilled, but let’s be real, bugs freak me out. Excuse me for a moment while I shiver just thinking about things that go “buzz.”

All in all, we think it’s a great sign that no matter the weather, our daughter loves to be outside. Whether it’s the warm sun on her skin, the wind in her hair, or the view of the open sky we’re excited to be raising an outdoor adventurer.

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5 Months

My Dearest Claire-Bear,

My sweet, sweet girl, you are 5 months old today. Your little personality is really starting to shine. You’ve perfected quite a few looks these days and you are an absolute ham when meeting other people. You make Daddy and I work very hard for each little gremlin giggle but you’re nothing but smiles and laughs when meeting new people!

Rolling over from your belly to your back is becoming easier, so we’re seeing you perform the feat more and more. You still have zero interest in learning to roll to your belly since laying flat on your back is your preferred position. You love to lay completely flat, so much so, that your head is looking a little less round these days! We’re trying to be conscious of helping your little noggin round back out by increasing your tummy time, keeping you off your head (unless you’re sleeping) and by putting pillows underneath to cushion your head when you’re on the floor playing.

This month had a lot of changes. We finally introduced you to formula. You are definitely not a fan, but will finally take straight formula at night when you’re starving. You have been exploring your voice and you’ve discovered the world of squeals and screeches. Unfortunately for us you’ve expanded those sounds into screams when you’re unhappy. The squeals and screeches of delight were very cute for the first 4 days, but as you experimented with volume and tone we’ve had to start introducing you to some boundaries.

We’ve begun telling you, “no” when your frustration screeches hit “migraine” level or you decide to yank on my hair. We are working on things like “pet the dog gently” to help instill good behavior towards animals, and I’ve been more conscious of signing things like “please, thank you, all done, and more.”

You’re starting to really enjoy signing. At clinic I have to wear a mask so you can’t see my face, and in order to entertain you while we wait for an hour I sign through all the songs I know. Your face lit up when I started signing ‘you’re happy and you know it,” and towards the end you even started giggling! It was amazing for me to see you recognize the signing since I know you weren’t reacting to my facial expressions since all you could see were my glasses-obstructed eyes. It’s great motivation for me to learn even more songs and more ways we can communicate using sign.

Your sleep is still a mystery to us. You’ve slowly transitioned from 4 naps down to about 3, with a small 10 minute catnap as a 4th nap once in a while. And while we try to put you down around 8pm, you tend to be a night owl. Some days 8pm bed time is a success, and other times you stay up past my bedtime! On the positive side of this, you also like to sleep in. If you go to bed at 10:30 we know you’ll sleep until about 10 the next day. If you’re up till midnight, we usually end up having to wake you up around 10 to maximize our chances of you falling asleep at a decent hour that night. As much as I think a night schedule and predictability would be nice, your Daddy loves getting to spend time with you in the evenings after he gets home from work.
You love to have piano time with me, and you love to listen to me sing. (Oh, you flatter me so!) You’ll happily sit on my lap while I play piano and then you’ll happily join in and start banging the keys with your little hands. For whatever reason you’re really good at hitting notes that work well with what I’m playing! I’ll be talking about what notes make up chords, or the difference between high C and low C and you’ll reach out and end up hitting the notes I’m talking about! Of course I like to exclaim you’re a musical prodigy, but logically you’re just closest to those notes.
Not only do you like to play music, but you love to dance to music. Nothing cheers you up and puts a smile on your face like dancing does. We can dance in front of you, we can make you do a little boogie, or you can even kick your legs and flail those arms when we play the radio. In every form, you’re diggin’ it!
Towards the end of your 4th month you really, really, work hard on your belly to try to crawl. You just want to be moving! You thrash your little legs and try to push up which results frequently in you face-planting while you push your little hiney high in the air. You’ll be on the go before we know it. For now you settle for pushing yourself in little circles on your belly an scooting a few inches.

This month I really think has been a big transition for you. Your personality is really starting to become more defined and you’ve developed little quirks already. We can tell you’re going to be a very determined, hard working, animal loving, musical little girl. We couldn’t be more proud to be your parents. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re getting cuter every day!
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