Archives for category: 6-12 Months

Gia has been one year for a week now. It’s crazy. Someone asked me today when she started crawling and I couldn’t remember. That’s when I realized it’s time to start keeping updates. They may not be on adorable chalkboards or unique fabric every month, but at least they’ll be done!

We had her birthday party early in the month in Minnesota, but also had a little birthday dinner for her while my mom was in town. My mom made spaghetti and meatballs, since Gia likes to slurp up the spaghetti. For dessert I made whipped cream over fresh berries and almond biscuits. We got her the radio flyer tricycle!


Gia has reached some milestones and is racing towards others. She says actual words now – when you ask her what a crow says, she says “Caw! Caw!” She says “apple,” “up,” “agua” and “uh oh” in the correct contexts. She also says “hi mama” and “buh bye”. 

She’s taken a couple of steps here and there, but she prefers crawling. She crawls at lightning speed. She can open the door to her bedroom and crawl away during bedtime routine. 


We took her to the beach for the first time on Sunday. We held her over the water and she loved the waves so much that she cried out in ecstasy as they crashed over and under her. She crabwalked over the sand and right back into the ocean by herself. 


She eats everything and yet she’s particular. One day she’ll shove spinach and chicken in her mouth; the next, the same foods will be gently removed from her plate and dropped onto the floor. She usually peers at me while she’s doing this to see if I’m watching. Tonight while we were eating dinner, she rocked back and forth and shook her head to Credence Clearwater Revival. She’s been nursing a lot on weekends and still nurses to sleep each night. I thought I’d finished pumping at work, but J and I have had some after-work dates and wedding meetings, so I’ve had to keep it up. 

I can’t talk about her turning a year old without discussing Leap 8. It has been the worst growth spurt so far. All of the leaps manifest in sleep in our household. Two weeks ago, at around 51 weeks, Gia stopped going to sleep on time and started staying awake in the middle of the night for two full hours, sometimes more. This happened for three week nights in a row and it was Hell. She then slept ok for one night, then was up from 11:30 pm to 3am on a Friday night. We tried everything – nursing, bottles, snacks, toys, letting her cry; nothing worked. I’ve called into work and gone in late a few times, and reinstated lunchtime car naps. I think the worst is over. For those of you who have the Wonder Weeks app, the storm cloud passed two days ago and we’ve had one good night of sleep so I’ll keep you posted. 

This is a video of how whiny and clingy she’s been during Leap 8:


For all the sleep deprivation, I can honestly say that what comes to mind when I think about the last couple of weeks is just pure joy. Her smile and laughter and antics have changed. Watching her learn and grow is beyond incredible. 

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I have to just take the plunge and write a quick post because I miss this community! My posts will probably be shorter and less reflective, and more about Gia and wedding updates, but I’m going to try to be more active. 

Last night Gia took a bottle from me for the first time since she was a month old. I was away from her for four days while she stayed with Jen at her childhood home. I missed her but thoroughly enjoyed going to see Tarzan by myself with a waterbottle of vodka and lemonade and a bag of coconut curry cashews… 

Anyway, despite pumping four or more times a day, by the time they got back I had barely any milk. I was pumping nothing and even with her nursing on one side, just a dribble. Now we have to give her bottles after nursing but since my supply isn’t completely gone, I’m trying to get it back up by nursing and pumping and eating lots of carbs and fats and drinking water and lactation tea. She got used to taking a bottle while we were separated and now she’s nursing and then drinking a bottle all in one cuddle session. 

Gia has overall been sleeping a little better with only one wake-up around 2am, until she got a cold, and another leap started. This week I’m dragging myself out of bed after just a few hours of sleep and getting through work bleary-eyed and hyped up on caffeine again. She is doing great though, crawling, standing, climbing onto to couch and getting down carefully all by herself. She even opens her bedroom door with the handle. She also says “up,” “mama” and “uh-oh”. I’ll do a one-year post soon. 

Here are some pics from her birthday party at my in-laws!

Cake time:

Smash cake: whole-grain banana cake “iced” with Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries by yours truly:


Wonderful old friends and my very pregnant SIL!


Opening presents with Mama:


Wiped out from all the partying:

July 4th boat ride:

Happiness:

Uncle and cousins!

We’re finally planning our wedding! We really committed to our six weeks of DIY couples therapy, which has improved our interactions a lot. We got excited about wedding planning and have come up with an affordable and fun weekend plan. As some of you know, we had planned our wedding for Sequoia National Park while I was pregnant, but medically, it wasn’t a good idea, and since Gia was born, we haven’t exactly been in a place to plan a wedding. 

It’s not the hippie wedding in the woods I planned two years ago, and it’s not in the Tuscan countryside we considered, but it’s convenient for our family and close friends, especially now that there are SEVEN baby and kid cousins between our two families! When we looked at our priorities, having our community there was really important. Keeping it low-stress and outdoors-y was also important. 

I planned the whole thing in about a week  and it came together so easily. The ceremony and reception will be at an amazing brewery in north San Diego (craft beer country). There are gardens, a koi pond, stone walkways and a small green lawn where the ceremony will be held. My best friends from college are doing the officiating and music, and another talented friend of ours is doing our photography. Afterwards we will have a farm-to-table meal on the garden deck. 

Here are some pics from someone else’s wedding in the same spot:


And some pics of us checking out the ceremony space and trying the food (Gia loved the sautéed greens):


We found a fun hotel near the brewery and stayed there Saturday night to see if it would feel right for the wedding. We booked one of its cottages on a lake to stay in on our wedding weekend. It has its own porch and fire pit, plus a kitchen to make cocktails and snacks, and the hotel has two really nice pools and hot tubs. 


I’m excited to share this here, and wish I had more time to write about my thoughts and daydream about my vision. I’ve waited so long to plan my wedding and now that it’s here, it’s also bringing up some difficult feelings, of course, mostly fear and perfectionism. I had mixed feelings about the hotel, but after a lot of processing and analyzing we decided to go ahead and embrace the plan. Today we put down deposits, sent out save-the-dates, and launched our website! 

 Gia has been sick and work has been stressful. We sleep-trained using the happy sleeper for three nights and she responded well, then promptly got sick and has mostly been in bed with us for two weeks. In reaching a breaking point again, but when she gets better we will do sleep waves and get her back on track. 

9-month update to follow!

  
Gia has been in swim lessons for three Saturday’s now at The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. It’s two outdoor pools with a gorgeous mountain backdrop. 

The first week she cried most throughout most of it. The second week was overcast and the pool was heated and she was just kind of skeptical. By last week, another sunny day, she was smiling and laughing, especially at the end when J would sit her up on the wall and let her fall into the pool in her arms (one of the instructed exercises). I love her little swimsuits and hat and her face absorbing the new sensations… SO cute. One of us goes in and the other hangs out with my friend’s husband, cheering the babies on. They do tummy floats, back kicks, doggie crawl, hold onto the wall, and fall into the water, plus singing circles and splashing. 

  

Now that Gia goes to music and swim each week, it feels like the beginning of many years of classes and sports; this is both overwhelming and exciting.

  
At the end they release a ton of rubber duckies into the pool!

Better post this before the 9-month mark!

This month has been a game changer in terms of both physical and cognitive development. Gia’s movements, social interactions and interests have taken a huge leap!
 
Weight: 21.5 pounds 

Size: 12 months/18-24 months, depending 

Teeth: four on top, four on bottom

Development: fully crawling, pulling herself to standing, starting to cruise, carefully sitting back down by putting one hand down first, playing peek-a-boo,  turning pages of books, mimicking sounds like “up” and “uh-oh”. I think she may still be slightly cross-eyed so we are going to have our pediatrician refer us to an optometrist. 

Naps: 3 with nanny, 2 on weekends with us

Favorite activities: reading books, clapping, knocking down block towers, standing up and walking while holding our hands, and LAUGHING while we’re being silly. 

Food: loves zucchini and apple oatmeal with flax seed, vegetable soup with beans, pieces of beets, broccoli, asparagus, etc, sautéed greens, berries, and noodles. Oh, and definitely breast milk!

Sleep: Not fun. Leap 6 has been a bitch, and interesting considering how alert and interactive Gia is. A lot of her ability to self-soothe is still there, but it’s as if she’s moved on to needing new ways of connecting anyway. Some nights she has trouble going to sleep, and she’s harder to settle after her night feeds. She wakes up twice. I’m planning to wean her from one of them once her teething and sleep regression settle down. I nurse her in bed and we sometimes end up bed sharing in the early morning hours; the rest of the time she’s in her crib with a knitted blanket and her fox lovey. We’re doing some research and consideration of how to organize Gia’s sleep again now that her behavior has changed so much. I need to figure out how to help her sleep better now that she stands in the crib staring at us!

 

 
  
  
  
  
As far as mom life goes, I’be been struggling with my work environment not being as healthy as I’d like, low pumping productivity, and sleep. On the positive side, being a mom just gets better and better. I find it easier to care of Gia without feeling anxious and overwhelmed. J and I have started going out more during the weekend days since we’re always home at night for Gia’s bedtime, and it’s been FUN! We are working on our relationship too, and it’s slowly paying off. Playing with Gia together is the best – she loves to read books, dance to Paul Simon, and ride around with J on my exercise ball chair. Making her laugh is more fun than going out drinking any day! Well, we least for now.

 
The other day I was watching Parenthood and there was a cheesy, cathartic but well-edited scene tying an episode of parenting strife together. I thought, very clearly, I can’t believe I almost missed out on this. I can’t believe I didn’t realize how incredible having a baby is. I am so, so happy.  Being Gia’s mom is the best thing I’ve ever done.

  
Two weeks ago Gia stopped going to sleep as easily. With the time change, her bedroom was light at 7 pm when she usually goes down, but it wasn’t just that. She wasn’t calming down while nursing and when I put her in her crib, when normally she would roll over and close her eyes, she was popping up, wide awake and crying. A few times that week it took an hour or more to get her to sleep, and several times in the middle of the night it took the same to get her back to sleep. When I opened the Wonder Weeks app, a storm cloud loomed over her little head. 

J and I discussed her baby craziness a few days later and decided we just wanted to support and comfort her, rather than take a hard line. We let her sleep in bed with us after her first waking a few times.  At the same time, she started crawling on all fours and pulling herself to standing. She wants to stand and “walk” holding our hands all the time! She also claps and says “uh-oh” and “up”, although I’m sure she doesn’t know what they mean. We weren’t about to do sleep waves while she was standing in the crib, peering over the top screaming. I suppose you could, but it didn’t feel the same now that she can pull herself up. 

It’s been pretty rough.  I did have a couple of freak-outs at 3am. One night I removed myself and slept in the nursery because I couldn’t be the best mother in that moment. I had to listen to her cry in J’s arms for awhile, but she’d already nursed for 45 minutes and I knew she was okay. She had trouble sleeping for two weeks and is just starting to get back on track. We changed her bedtime routine to 7 and bedtime to 7:30, and I started doing a dream feed so I could skip a night waking. (Why didn’t I start this earlier, it’s great! She’s so mellow and goes right back to sleep and sometimes I get to sleep six hours straight.) 

The best thing I did during this sleep regression was take two warm baths with Gia. One night when J was away on business and Gia seemed really amped up I drew a bath and pulled her in with me. We hadn’t done this since she was just a few months old. We lay there playing and nursing for a long time and she went right to sleep that night. It was nice so we tried it again a few nights ago. 

 
During the day though, this sassy little girl is pretty hilarious. She cracks up at the silliest things, lies on her back staring at books like she’s reading them, andslurps down the broth at the end of her soup bowl. I feel a lot less anxious about taking care of her, aside from her weekend naps which really stress me out (she naps perfectly for the nanny but with us will only nap in stroller or ergo). She’s very interactive. She’s started a music class on Fridays and we start swim lessons this Saturday.

  
  
  

First, a quick update. Work is Hell. There is a lot of drama and I’m struggling to be professional and take the high road. I have had to stick up for myself both privately and in meetings. It’s so disheartening that as a licensed psychologist, I have had to do this. I look forward to the days when I am full-time private practice! Because of the stress of work, I haven’t had as much time or headspace for other things like talking to my family and getting household paperwork done; I feel depleted all week long. Thank goodness I’m pretty good at separating work and home, so that the second I see Gia’s eyes light up, realizing I’m home, I can be present with her. 

I’m feeling much more confident about parenting. Our sleep and mealtime routine works well and it’s so nice to have some adult time in the evenings to watch TV and just hang out. We miss Gia during this time, so I’m glad that we still co-sleep with her crib in our room, and see her for night feeds. It’s worth it to be tired, as long as I’m not as tired as I was before we implemented her sleeping in her crib! 

When Gia was a newborn I struggled with a lot of anxiety; having a tiny human relying on me all the time was a shock to my 36-year-old, previously free-spirited system. Then between four and six months, before we helped her learn how to sleep by herself, I felt desperate and I have to admit, a few times wondered if I had gotten in over my head with having a child; the burden of not sleeping and working so hard was heavy.

Sometime in the past few weeks things have shifted. I’ve found myself incredibly excited to see her every morning, night and all weekend long. I adore spending time with her. She is hilarious – if I look at her out of the corner of my eye, or play a trick like sneaking up behind her, she laughs so hard. She eats pretty much anything we put in front of her – broccoli rabe in olive oil, chickpea, spinach soup and tomato soup, sesame tempeh with rice noodles. It’s amazing. Watching her explore her meal is awesome. For playtime, she’s obsessed with standing up. If you sit on the floor she will crawl over and reach for your hands, then pull herself up to standing and look around, grinning, to see who is watching. She says “Uh oh” clear as day; I’m not sure she understands what it means, but she loves saying it! She is so much fun and her schedule is under control enough that I no longer feel anxiety about the rest of it. How I will get her dressed, myself dressed, the car pulled into the driveway, the stroller into the car and the baby into the car no longer bothers me. Knowing I’ll be woken out of a deep sleep to nurse her in the wee hours of the morning no longer bothers me. I’m really proud of our family (the cats helped to, cuddling in the nursery every night during bedtime routine) for pulling ourselves together and making our home a comfortable place for Gia to sleep, learn and laugh.

Homemade vegetable soup:

 
 One hand! 
 Butterfly rocker at a play cafe: 

My older sister is about to have her second baby, and J’s brother and sister-in-law are due in July; Gia will have five first cousins! I am so excited to see what my little niece is going to be like. 

The last post was published by accident with my stupid sore thumbs! Here it is corrected:

    
There’s so much I want to say… But it’s hard with no laptop and sore thumbs. I’m so in love with my baby. She’s developing so much and it’s amazing watching it every day. She’s so funny and sweet. When she laughs or burries her face in my neck I just melt. It’s hard to have such a huge responsibility when I’ve been free to do whatever I want for so many years, but this is exactly why I did it – to have this parent-child love in my life. Taking care of her is getting easier and I’m more confident so some of the intense anxiety I had is dissipated.

Gia update:

She’s crawling a lot now and loves to be supported while standing up but since she can’t pull herself up yet we don’t let her do it for too long. She’s eating mostly adult food as she started rejecting the baby food a couple of weeks ago. She loves vegetable soup so I’ve been making her lots of it – it’s just fresh organic vegetables cut into small pieces in broth (low salt) with beans. She’s obsessed! She also loves lentil curry with coconut milk (one of J’s specialities but made without salt) and scrambled eggs (also without salt). We give her some blueberries, mango and strawberries a few times a week but really she just wants soup!
Gia weighs 21.5 pounds. It’s difficult having to constantly lift up a baby the size of a person who normally would be able to walk around on her own. Hence the sore thumbs. I have an orthopedic appointment on Friday. I do want a cortisone shot, except that I had one in my left wrist a few years ago and it hurt so badly I cried the whole motorcycle ride home (back when J drove me around on her bike which was super hot) and it atrophied and I lost some muscle tone. But I never had pain there again! 

 Doing some yoga with the nanny: 
 Standing: 
 Breast feeding in The Gap (her favorite way to nap on weekends – in the Ergo, not in The Gap): 

Just being adorable:  

 Eating breakfast: 

J and I are reassessing our relationship now that we’re getting more used to parenting. It’s been a difficult adjustment for us and since we didn’t get a chance to get married prior to her birth, it feels like the stakes are high. Our relationship has such a strong base and we’re both fully committed. We’ve set aside one night a week to talk and connect and weekend nights have been more fun now that Gia’s bedtime is under control; we can have some beers and watch a movie together, which feels so exciting after months of having to go to bed with Gia!
That’s it for now. No organized monthly updates here, but I’m trying to keep up with you all!

Gia has had at least three colds in her short life, all lasting around a month. Right now she’s had one for two weeks accompanied by a bad hacking cough which keeps her from sleeping. For several nights now she’s been back in bed with me nursing all night. She still goes down at 7pm, and we haven’t had to do any sleep waves since the first week of sleep training. Since getting sick she at least was making it until 11 or midnight, but last night she was awake at 9:15 pm, right as I was drifting off to sleep! She nursed pretty much all night. Then tonight we found a tooth cutting through her top gums! No wonder she nursed all night last night, and anytime I took my nipple out of her mouth (sorry kid, sometimes I have to go to the bathroom for ten seconds) she screamed bloody murder.

 
My whole body hurts from side-lying all night – back, hips, shoulders. I know it’s because the poor girl is sick and teething, but it’s really getting to me again. J suggested I call in sick this morning but I had a busy schedule and dragged myself in. I have faith that her sleep will go back to one night waking soon though, since the nights she feels okay she still sleeps 8-9 hour steer his, then another 3-hour stretch. I’m just trying to hang tight.  

at the doctor… again

 

I do feel good overall though. There is so much stress at work and I miss my family, but I’m also feeling lighter in a lot of ways.  Our routine with Gia is comfortable and I think we’ve gained a lot of confidence in parenting both separately and as a couple. Gia is just adorable and I love her so much. She’s smart and notices everything. She laughs like crazy. She eats leafy green vegetables like a champ. She crawls and knocks over blocks. Taking care of her (except at night) is just so fun and amazing!

Gia was seven months last Friday. It was also the day our angel baby was due. In some ways, it feels like Gia is her and they are the same.

 

eating Korean food – she went after those chopsticks, even greens with spicy sauce!


 

roasted asparagus

 
  
 

natural history museum – first dinosaur!

 
 

I took a very traditional workshop on First Foods at The Pump Station which outlines a plan for how to introduce one food at a time, which foods to introduce only after one year, and how to ensure your baby doesn’t get addicted to carbs (lots of veggies, no pouches, applesauce or puffs). My Mommy & Me instructor encourages BLW and says she wishes she’d done it with her two children ten years ago though. I created a control-freak plan and printed it out for the refrigerator, but we ended up trying a combination of baby-led weaning and purée. Gia spits up more when we don’t purée her food, so I’m making those most of the time. I’ve given her pieces of fresh veggies to suck on and pieces of vegan muffin, veggie wrap and some soup and salad at restaurants, and all has been okay. We’ve also tried egg yolk scrambled with finely chopped spinach and avocado which was a huge hit. We do need purees at the ready during weekdays for quick meals and the nanny, and since Gia is 20.5 pounds she seems hungry a lot. I’m using a book called Sage Spoonfulls for ideas about which veggies to combine and how to cook them. I add a dash of olive oil – I want her to love vegetables! Here are some combos I’ve made:

Sweet potatoes & broccoli

Yams, carrots and zucchini

Red potatoes and English peas

Red & blue potatoes, parsnip & zucchini 

Oatmeal and blueberries

 

This bamboo steamer is awesome for making baby food!

  

   
 


She is just so adorable when she likes something! Some days she gobbles up a whole plate and other days she won’t touch the same food. We let her eat with her hands which basically means paint the dining room table and her face!
 


  
She also likes mango and apple purée chilled in the silicone feeder: 

On another note, I’m not pumping enough milk to keep up with her. It sucks. My freezer stash is quickly diminishing and instead of the three or four ounces I used to get each session, I now get 1.5 between BOTH SIDES. I pump before and after work with her nursing on the other side and get more, but I have to pump like its my job in order to make enough for her. My only breast freeding goals were to let her wean herself (probably when she’s five God help me) and to not use formula, since I’ve always had plenty of milk, but at this point I think we’ll need to supplement soon. I wish my body responded better to the pump. I drink lactation tea all day at work and guzzle water. I also eat oatmeal with flax for breakfast and eat two lactation cookies a day. I’d lost some weight from eating really healthy and my nanny said I shouldn’t do that yet and maybe it was reducing my supply (she breast fed three children for at least two years each) so I’ve started eating more too. The problem is really that I don’t get a letdown easily without Gia, not even with the button on the pump. Who’s had to supplement? Has anyone had to do this when returning to work?