Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baby Amelia (Please go to sleep)

(Sung to the tune of Baby Beluga)

Baby Amelia, it is eight-fifteen.
You're the last to go to sleep.
The sun has set in the sky above-
It is way past time, my love.

Baby Amelia, oh, baby Amelia!
Is the room too warm? Is your sleep sack on,
Your toes so cozy?

Naps are easy, yes they're such a breeze.
Makes you seem like such a tease.
Your eyes get heavy and we lay you down,
Soon you're snoozing, safe and sound.

Baby Amelia, oh, baby Amelia!
Will you go to bed? Are you sleepy yet?
We'd love to help you...

Now it's dark, you're fed and warm,
Tucked so comfy in my arm.
But just when I think that you are ready to go,
From your crib you tell me, "no!"

Baby Amelia, oh, baby Amelia,
Mommy's tried her best, Daddy comes instead,
We're both so tired...

Baby Amelia, it is nine-fifteen.
You're the last to go to sleep.
The moon has risen in the sky above-
It is way past time, my love.
It is way past time, my love.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

This is How We Do It

Baby push-ups.


(Courtesy of my new 50mm lens. Sorry, still working on my focusing technique.)

That is all.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Before and After

It's been a week now since Michael and Mia had their lip ties removed, so I figure it's a good time for an update on their progress.

Here are the before-and-after comparison shots:



Though they both appeared to experience a mild level of discomfort on the day of, and were never keen on the stretching exercises and vitamin E application required for the first five days following, they've both come through with flying colors. The healing process has gone incredibly quickly, and the only evidence remaining of the procedure now is a small patch of white in each of their mouths that first appeared a day or so ago and has been fading ever since.

As for the difference that it's made, I never expected to see much of one with Michael. My concerns for him, having left his breastfeeding days far behind him, had only to do with making space in his mouth for the teeth that are trying to make their way out. It is my hope that his two front teeth will now begin to close the gap between them, making space for the lateral incisors on either side, though it will take some time for all of that to happen. What I have observed, in the seven short days that have passed, is a dramatic bit of progress in the eruption of his upper canines. It's likely coincidental, but interesting to note in the comparison photographs all the same.

Mia's story, however, has unfolded quite differently. She was the reason that I sought out a quick resolution once I identified the problem, clinging urgently to the hope that it could make an immediate difference for her. Ultimately, it has.

It took her a couple of days to acknowledge that she had the capability to form a deeper, stronger latch and to take advantage of it with any consistency. However, her gas problems began clearing up right away, and by the fourth or fifth day I hardly got any out of her even when I tried. More importantly, she was no longer showing any signs of being distressed by it: no sudden cries of pain out of nowhere, no attempts to push her tush skyward (a sure sign of gas distress) during her nightly wakings, far fewer periods of irritability with no clearly identifiable cause.

I've also not observed a single green stool (which had become the norm) since last Monday. She's on a good schedule and producing the mustard-yellow shade that I'd been hoping to start seeing. It's only a theory, but it seems to me that while previously Mia was having difficulty extracting hindmilk with the poor latch she was managing, she's now gaining easy access, and it shows. The changes in her feeding schedule support this: she's now eating every 2-3 hours during the day instead of every one.

One of the things that has forced a larger gap between her feeds is the length of the naps that she's been taking. Instead of staying down for only an hour at a time, she's beginning to average about two-and-a-half. She's not predictable about it by any means- we've still had a couple of days of three shorter naps instead of two long ones- but I feel good about the fact that on the days when she feels the need to sleep for longer and more deeply, she can.

In the end, my hopes for her were mostly exceeded, as I'd harbored fears that Mia would require suck re-training even after her tie was released. This has not proven to be the case for us, to my great relief. I must admit to also hoping that the procedure would prove a solution to our problems at night, but it seems that the Four Month Wakeful Period I've heard so much about is playing a part in her sleep regression- a phase I'll just have to ride out like any other. That's not to say that things have not improved at all on that front though, because they have. Mia's working in one long shift now (generally 4-5 hours) amidst the short ones, and when she does wake, there's been no more need for bicycle legs in the dark. Fun as that is, it's no good for keeping babies sleepy in the middle of the night.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mobile Moments, 7/22-7/28

And so, July comes to a close with surprisingly beautiful weather mixed in amongst the rain and humidity. We started our week in Reisterstown, MD, getting Mia and Michael's lip ties released, and ended it at home, with family visiting from New York- all the more audience to which we could show off our new smiles.

In the middle of it all, a very special somebody turned four months old, and has been making it clear that she's ready to start putting those early, helpless days behind her.

Up to his usual mischief.
Earning Curious George viewing time.
Enjoying the latest issue of Ranger Rick, Jr. with Daddy. (Thanks again, cousin Rachel!)
Michael's new favorite hat.
Right at home amidst the mess.
"Whoa. I have toes."
Pallin' around with Piglet.
Hanging with Aunt Ali.
Cool like Auntie.
In the swing of things.
Smelly feet!
Engrossed in a book.
Synchronized reading.

Overheard this week:


"Somebody took Uncle Joe's shoes. Was it me?"

Upon overhearing Tom's phone conversation when his sister checked in from the Delaware rest stop on her way home this evening: "No, they can't be in Delaware!" And, as I tried to assuage Abby by explaining the situation, "Aunt Ali and Uncle Joe can't need to go home!"
(No worries- her distress was quite brief and she perked up soon after, though I'm sure she'll be excited at the next opportunity to see them again.)

Conversations with Abby:

Abby: "Michael, say Mama."
Michael: "Mama."
Abby: "Michael, say kitty."
Michael: "Hit-tee."
Abby: "Wow, what a good job Michael- you said kitty! Michael, say Abby."
Michael: "Abby."
Abby: "Yay! Good job, Buddy."

(Holding a plastic spoon to her ear)
Abby: "I'm talking to someone."
Me: "Oh? Who are you talking to?"
Abby: "Nana."
Me: "Nana, huh? What does Nana say?"
Abby: "I'm going to bring you some new books."

Also, true to his pattern, Michael said one new word this week, though I can't for the life of me remember what it was (Bad Mommy!) and Abby managed to work the phrase "a whole bunch of things" into a sentence.

Lastly, be sure to revisit Tuesday's post, which I've updated to include Nana's best guess at the entire phone conversation that she had with Abby that day.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Four Months, and Feelin' Fantastic

As we've approached four months, the changes in Mia have bordered on magical. She's been happier, goofier, more energetic, more aware, and loads more fun than ever before.

Among the accomplishments she's managed over the past month:
  • giggling
  • reacting to silly faces and voices
  • discriminating between her parents and other adults
  • discovering her hands
  • inching forward on her belly
  • pushing up onto her elbows
  • rolling from belly to back
  • reaching for objects at close range and eye-level
  • surpassing 15 lbs (she weighed in at 15 lbs, 11 oz at a doctor's appointment two weeks ago)

As of today, she's now officially four months old, and she celebrated by managing a five-hour sleep shift overnight, sleeping in this morning, and logging five hours' worth of nap time during the day today. She finished off the evening joyfully leaping and bouncing in her jumper, reminding me that though it breaks my heart to see her growing so fast, the best is really yet to come, after all.


As for the "Month Pictures," I am absolutely thrilled with how the photo shoot went this morning. When it came time to upload pictures, I was astonished to see that I had taken only 33, but they all came out so well that it was still tough to pick favorites.

Things started out as usual. Mia was cooperative enough, but not smiling.

However, as I was in the midst of snapping pictures, Aunt Ali and Uncle Joe arrived for their weekend visit. I wasn't sure how Mia would react to our guests, since she's been a bit sensitive about going to new people, of late.

As it turns out, Mia took an instant liking to her Aunt Ali (they've met once or twice before, but it's doubtful that Mia remembers).

Can you tell?

We lost a bit of our giggly momentum when I changed up the animal companions a bit...

... but we won it back fairly quickly.

After a time, I seemed to be wearing Mia out, but I kept on shooting anyway, in the hopes of a capturing a couple more good pictures. I also was keen to try out the new lens that Nana sent along with Ali and Joe as a late birthday gift. These last few were taken with my Nikkor 50mm 1:1:8D AF lens.

As I struggled a bit with the manual focus, Mia started giving me subtle signs that she'd had enough.

I was a little too occupied to notice, at first.


"Stop, already."

In this last shot, though, she could not be denied.

Happy Four Months, Mia! I'm so excited for what's to come.

Friday, July 26, 2013

For Love of Yogurt

It's been several weeks now since I threw caution (and any hope of constraining the all-too-unavoidable mess) to the wind and allowed Michael free use of a spoon and his own cup of yogurt. He's actually done quite well, despite my reservations. I've yet to end up with yogurt on the ceiling or walls, though the floor, table, chairs, and sliding glass door are another story, entirely.

Here's a visual update on his progress at yogurt-eating finger-painting, in case you were wondering:

It seems that my little guy has got some hidden talent to express.

And he sure does love his yogurt.

Abby, on the other hand, has displayed an interest in window-washing in response. The first time Michael painted on the door (perhaps a week ago), she was very keen on cleaning it off- to the point that I thought it might be fun to indulge her and let her have a crack at the glass with a paper towel after it was sprayed down with some Windex.

I forgot to take care of the mess right after lunch today, so it was still there this evening. And wouldn't you know, I had to carefully avert the tantrum that began to brew just after dinner when I instructed her to follow her father down to the playroom and she, instead, wanted to "clean the window."

There's got to be a way for me to use her burning desire to my advantage in the future...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mia Joins the Gang

Today was not Mia's first playdate- not technically. She's tagged along on a few, as well as a couple of birthday parties, since her birth. However, at each one, she spent the vast majority of the time sleeping in a wrap, or propped up on my lap. Though on two occasions she tolerated a few minutes of floor time, I had to stay constantly within her line-of-sight and vigorously protect her personal space from all of the other curious babies and toddlers around her. The rest of my time was generally spent trying valiantly to keep her happy once she awoke while still attempting to keep tabs on her brother and sister.

No, today's was not the first playdate that she attended. But, it was the first playdate that she actively participated in.

Just look at how comfortable she was, lounging in the shade on the first beautiful day we've had since I can't remember.

I didn't time how long she stayed there, but it was surely for over thirty minutes, much of that time with me nowhere to be seen as I tried to keep an eye on her brother and sister in their wild exploration of the surrounding yard and nearby house.

Though she was at all times in the company of some other lovely mothers, I was astonished at how content Mia remained without me by her side, given how sensitive she's been of late to who picks her up or engages her in conversation.

She wasn't even phased by the frequent encroachment of her brother, noisy as he was with a push-toy in tow.

It's got me wishing that we had a deck as well, since Mia clearly was too taken by all of the sights to be seen outdoors to worry much about anything else that was going on. In the end, she never tired of lounging in her special spot- I ended up moving her only when we all made a decision to retire indoors.

Even once inside, Mia remained in high spirits; smiling, cooing, and graciously welcoming the friendly intrusions of her elder playmates. In time, when the mat lost its appeal, she briefly took refuge in my arms, however, she perked up after a stroll around the room and was soon ready to join in the fun again, this time from the seat of a jumper.

And yes, I realize that this is the recently-recalled model. No worries, I payed extra-special attention to "Mr. Sun." He made no threatening moves on my watch. Mia certainly had no issues with him. Indeed, she was far more interested in the attachment to his right, which she reached out, grabbed, and clung to for quite some time (first time I've seen her do that, by the way).

In the meantime, Michael was doing his father proud, engrossed as he was in the pretend tool station nearby.

Well, he was engrossed for a moment, anyway. He spent most of his time repeatedly making breaks for the stairs, which he can easily ascend, but not descend, independently. Who'd have thought that he'd be the one of the three who required the vast majority of my attention?

Alas, he did prove quite the distraction for me, so I got only one shot of Abby as we were preparing to leave. She's not doing anything particularly exciting here, but she does look pretty cute in her slightly-too-small choice of headwear. 

I know that she's of an age where "they just grow that fast," but it's still hard to believe that just last summer, that hat was the perfect size for her.

And in one summer more, what vast changes there will be, still. Especially for little Mia. In not even four months, look how far she's come already.