7 weeks with Avery

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guess who is almost two months old already?! This adorable girl!

I can't believe how much my life has changed in the past two months! Have I mentioned how much I enjoy being this girl's mommy? Or how much I enjoy not being pregnant?? Besides having my little baby here now, it is so wonderful to eat normally and bend over comfortably and sleep flat on my back! I put this together awhile ago and keep forgetting to share. I can't believe how huge I was at the end!

The very best part of not being pregnant, of course, is that I get to hang out with this cute face all day. Being a mom has its perks when your baby is as sweet as this one.

Miss Avery is growing, growing, growing. She changes so much every day. She rarely stops moving and is always making noises. She coos and gurgles when she is happy, yells when she is mad, and grunts in warning before losing her cool entirely. She even giggles in her sleep, which is the cutest thing in the world.

Daddy had to go away for work recently. It was awful for all of us--those 7 days felt way longer than last year's deployment. Avery got sick the day he left, with a fever and lots of icky congestion. There was a lot of crying and not a lot of sleeping for either of us. As soon as daddy got back, she cuddled right up on him and fell asleep for a solid 3 1/2 hours. Paul was awesome and took care of Avery and most everything around the house for a few days so I could recover from my week of sleeping even less than usual. Avery didn't mind one little bit, because he is totally her favorite parent (she is holding onto some resentment toward me for sucking out her boogers and taking her temperature so often. It's a thankless job).

Our struggles with getting her to sleep have been getting drastically better thanks to tummy sleeping and a pacifier. I only let her sleep on her tummy during the day when I can watch her because she still likes to bury her face in whatever she is laying on (even though she is totally capable of moving her head from side to side). She sleeps for hours and hours on her tummy. I have been laying her down on her belly on the couch so I can watch her and get a few things done. Even though it isn't a solution for nighttime sleeping, it prevents her from getting overly tired during the day, which makes her easier to put down at night, and it is an improvement over having to hold her for all naps.

And as far as I'm concerned, the pacifier is the greatest invention of all time. This kid will fall asleep almost anywhere now, as long as we pop a paci in her mouth (IF she is sufficiently tired). It has revolutionized my entire life. It was a short road from "Well, only to get her to sleep," to, "Ok, and also when I shower...and in the car ... and at the grocery store...and whenever else she wants it." The best part is, I don't have to feed her to sleep. Or maybe the best part is the silent car trips. Or the freedom to go places in public without her crying the whole time. All this thanks to Avery's my new BFF, the pacifier. (She used to gag every time we offered it, but perseverance won the day ans she finally figured it out).

This isn't to say she is a great napper/sleeper now. Not by a long shot. She thinks a 10-minute snooze qualifies as a nap, fights sleep with a determination I have never seen in one so small, and still requires a lot of snuggles to get into a deep sleep. But we are making huge progress. She has slept totally on her own for 2 nights this week, and has made it from 7pm until 3-4am every night for the past two weeks (with snack breaks, of course). I think she could go the whole night but for her -apparently routine- 3am poop. She gets all riled up during her diaper change (I can't do poopy ones in the dark), especially if it requires an outfit change. She usually decides she might as well just stay up for a few hours, and putting her in bed with us is the only way to convince her otherwise ... although sometimes even that doesn't work. Sometimes we just start our day at 4am. 
(Thankless, I tell you).

Besides not taking naps, her favorite activities are playing in her baby gym, looking at herself in mirrors, reading stories, and taking baths. She also loves to just talk with us. She smiles, pants, and coos for us anytime we make eye contact with her.

Alright, enough of my babbling. Here are some more super cute pictures of our super sweet girl. 

Life with a baby (5 weeks)

Friday, April 12, 2013

My nails grow really fast. I have always been bad about their maintenance, trimming them only when one broke or typing became difficult. Now I trim them when they are too long to wash out the baby poop that keeps getting under them. Gross? Yes. But this is my new life.

Little Avery is growing even faster than my nails. She weighs 10 lbs already and has outgrown most of her newborn clothes. She changes every single day, and it is so fun to watch her develop. My favorite part of the day is changing her diaper in the morning. She always wakes up in a super cheerful mood, so we spend a good 10 or more minutes at the changing table. She stretches and looks around while I change her, and then she gets super smiley, giving me big grins every time I kiss her. She has started to occasionally coo at me while I talk to her, which absolutely melts my heart. She smiles at me and make noises to get my attention if I stop interacting with her during this time, too. It is almost enough to make me a morning person.

My happy girl loves to smile
She is also becoming more independent, at least while she is awake and has a full belly. She still demands to be held while sleeping (more on that in a minute), but when she is awake she loves to be put down. As long as she can hear my voice, she has a great time playing in her crib. I rotate out toys and shiny objects for her to look at and try to be productive by folding laundry in the nursery and sneaking off to pour myself some cereal when I can. She lies there and kicks and wiggles and squirms, rotating her whole body like a clock hand. She also enjoys her bouncy chair from time to time; we read her stories in there, which she recently started paying attention to. This makes her book worm mama very happy. She stares at the pictures and starts kicking her feet really hard and grunting, which I think means she likes it...although sometimes it just means she has to poop.

We have also been taking more baths, usually every other day. She seems content to just chill out in there, so I try to stretch them out as long as I can. She doesn't like the part where I try to actually clean her, of course, so I view the bath as more of a sensory experience for now and still sponge her down on her changing table as needed, which she doesn't find too objectionable.

We also listen to Spanish music (so my brain doesn't atrophy), dance in the living room, and go on walks to pass the time. I just ordered her an an activity gym, too, so I'm excited to add that to our small repertoire of activities.

And then there is the sleep dilemma. For awhile it seemed like we were making progress here, but now it seems she is regressing. She sleeps when held, and when held only. Not in the carseat, not in a crib, not in her bouncy seat, bassinet, or anywhere else. The only exception is the swing, sometimes-- about every 2 to 3 days I can trick her into napping in there, which, not coincidentally, is about how often I do my hair or any real chores around the house. Of course we try to trick her constantly, but she always figures us out. (She has pretty bad reflux, too, which I think is compounding the problem, but more on that another day). She hates swaddling almost as much as she hates the pediatrician, white noise only challenges her to scream louder, and what it boils down to is that we all need to sleep, so: we hold her. We keep trying to put her down, but no luck yet. She just loves snuggled when she is sleepy.

I was getting frustrated, trying to get her to sleep where and  how I wanted, but I have come to the conclusion that it is not worth it to spend these precious weeks being frustrated. I really want to enjoy this tiny, precious cuddly stage, and so I hold her. I know it isn't recommended and it definitely makes it harder to get things done, but I also know this stage won't last forever. Two weeks ago, she would wail any time we put her down, and now she has a great time when we put her down and let her explore.  Two weeks ago, she wouldn't sleep in her swing at all, and now she does every few days. So this will get better, too. In fact, two nights ago she slept in her bassinet for three hours -- small victories! I also got an infant baby carrier that she likes to sleep in, so we are compromising and adapting. Not being able to bend over limits me some (and I can't wear it to shower), but it is a great start, and I don't like cleaning that much anyway.

This is the Baby K'tan -- like a moby but you don't need a PhD to wrap it.

I remember reading a quote somewhere -- "The days are long but the years are short." I don't want to waste these short weeks and years. The truth is, I love cuddling her, and if she needs the warmth and security of our presence to feel confident and comfortable right now, then I'm going to try to provide that for her. I know she will sleep on her own soon enough, and one day I am going to miss her being so snuggly. This mom gig is a really challenging (and stinky) job, but every time she smiles at me I know it is so very worth it.

PS : This is us right now. I am getting really good at 1-handed typing =)


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