Of course, December is always quite the busy month, and 2011 was no exception. It was also a very stressful time for me, thanks to a pre-term labor scare at 32 weeks pregnant that had me hospitalized overnight on December 6th, made me the cringing benefactor of not one, but two steroid shots, and required me to take one week of pretty strict bed rest, followed by several more of a more modified nature. The first week was difficult, painful, and scary. I couldn't do much of anything without setting off all kinds of contractions, but ultimately they did not lead to active labor, and my uterine irritation began to decrease once I was forced to start taking things much easier (no small feat with a feisty toddler at home). Ultimately, a lot of responsibility was passed on to Tom, who took it on graciously. And in the end, the issue appeared to be not actual pre-term labor, but rather, prodromal labor, which is a long, slow progression toward the "real thing." I endured no fewer than two contractions an hour (some hardly noticeable, others quite painful) until Michael was born, but I did not actually start dilating (past one cm, which is as far as I got during the pre-term labor scare) or progressing until 36 weeks.
Thanks to my total ineptitude at writing things down as Abby grew, I don't have a written record anywhere, but if memory serves correctly, as of her one-year wellness exam my little monkey was standing about 32 inches tall, and weighed 28 lbs.
And gaining in mischief-making capacity with each passing day.
|"Finally! I got Mommy's phone!"|
December was tough on Abby, as well, however. She began cutting her one-year molars, and picked up pretty quickly on the fact that I was suddenly much less involved in her day-to-day care, due to the fact that I could not pick her up or carry her anywhere and was trying to limit my own movement as much as possible.
Much to my delight, in response, she became a total cuddlebug overnight.
Mind you, this was a child that, for many months previous to this, could not be bothered holding still for long enough to snuggle with me.
Later that day, I had Tom attempt to take some more pictures of Abby in the outfit that she's wearing above, because it was (and is) one of my favorites, and was a recent gift from her Great-Aunt Irene. She would not cooperate and stand up for us, however, and this was the best that we could get.
And, the last pre-Christmas highlights of the month: Abby's first experience with a "real" cup...
...and more teething/missing Mommy-induced cuddles.
These next three were the pictures that we had taken of us at my parents', and ultimately used for our Christmas card that year.
|(The very best group shot we could get on a timer, with a wiggly toddler in our midst.)|
This one is one of my all-time favorites, though we realized after-the-fact that the background color was less than ideal. My mother actually photo-shopped a copy for us, making the sofa color more of a a maroon, and we have that picture framed and in our dining room now. Sadly, Flickr's photo editor did not have appear to have a function that could do that for this copy.
Just a few days before Christmas, on the 22nd, I hosted my first play date. Only a couple of moms (with their babies) were in attendance, but Abby had an amazing time, not least because I removed all of the barriers that we normally had up on either side of the living room to provide more space for our guests to move around in. The most memorable part of that day, however, was the breakthrough that Abby made in her progression toward walking. Up to that point, she had been walking here and there, but still relied greatly on crawling as a means to get around. Once she saw the open expanse before her, however, she realized that space is made for walking in. And she did not merely walk, she ran. Round, and round, and round the apartment she went. Tom and I were so tickled by her delight that we left the barriers down for a few days more, until Tom tired of chasing her to-and-fro. Even once the barriers were put back up, however, Abby never looked back. I rarely saw her crawl again.
And now we come to Christmas day. Christmas was spent with my parents that year, as they lived only 25 minutes away, and I could not possibly have traveled up to New Jersey in my condition. It all worked out, though, because Tom and I had spent the Christmas before with his family, so it was only fitting that my family get a turn on the day of, too.
Abby still didn't really understand the concept of ripping paper off of presents, but she sure did enjoy playing with them once we unwrapped them for her.
One of my own presents was my little Panasonic Lumix, and I had a grand time that day testing out some of the bells and whistles as I recorded Abby's second Christmas morning.
|(Dynamic Black & White)|
At some point, all of the excitement became too much for Abby, and Mima's arms were more than ready for a cuddle and nap.
No worries, though. There was still much more fun to be had that evening.
The next morning, I attempted to re-create Abby's posed shot in her pretty red dress, this time with pillows to break up all the redness. I was pretty excited about the prospect, especially since I had a chance to do it over with a brand new camera. Unfortunately, Abby wasn't particularly cooperative. (And I wasn't very good at using the camera yet, anyway.)
By that evening, we were back home, and getting mighty comfortable.
As it turned out, though, we'd had a visitor. Some creature had chewed through the ceiling of our pantry, leaving a mess of insulation and spilled, half-eaten food. My first thought was a mouse, but the hole was pretty large, and the damage pretty impressive, for such a small animal. However, I was left to speculate until the next day.
Our uninvited house guest made his appearance in the afternoon, when Tom entered our bedroom, which had been closed shut all morning. A squirrel, which had been climbing the window shade when Tom opened the door, leaped out at him and sent Tom backing swiftly out the way he came in. The look on his face was priceless.
Needless to say, we had more visitors later that day, namely, Animal Control. The man that they sent was capable and fast, though Mr. Squirrel nearly made his way back out of the net as the officer ran through our living room and out of our front door.
However, the best parts of that day involved the visit from Nana and Papa, who came all the way down from New Jersey just to spend some brief but lovely time with us, and brought presents...
...and even a rainbow!
A couple of days, and a couple of Abby cuddles, later...
...Uncle James also came down to visit, and stayed for a few days.
As for this picture, I don't think I need to provide any explanation as to why I had to include it.
Though I dearly love this one, too. There's so much baby in her face, here, while now she is so much more "little girl" than "baby."
As big as I thought she was then, she looks so little, compared to now.
And little Michael, well- he hadn't even yet come out to play!
It's amazing how time flies, isn't it? So much of it seems like only yesterday, and here we are, just two months away from celebrating Christmas again. Abby's third (could it really be?!), and Michael's very first.
P.S. Amazingly, I am ranked 101 on Top Baby Blogs! I never imagined that I'd even get close to the top 100, but now that I'm just below it, you wanna help get me there? Just click on the button right below this post. Thanks a bunch!