This has been a challenging month. It’s been fun and full of new experiences for all of us (new milestones reached in mobility and communication), but it’s also been an incredibly whiney month… Avery definitely knows now that she can wield some control over getting what she wants (or getting out of what she doesn’t want).
New this month
Language – OMG the language this month…
Official first word! She calls me mama. Once even mama-ey (we’re aiming for mommy). She has also made attempts at Mo (what we’re calling my wife), but it comes out as Ma with a short a. It is clearly intentional though, and not just random sounds anymore.
She also makes a Mah sound when I ask if she wants more food. I think she’s trying to say more.
She nods her head yes in response to questions like “do you want to eat?” or “do you want up?”
She still uses the sign for milk, but despite us using the signs for eat and water, she has made up her own that she uses for both of those – she smacks her lips together like she’s kissing. She also seems to be trying to sign “more”, but it’s more of a hand flapping motion. It’s a slightly different hand flapping motion than “all done”.
I want to make an extra note about her language comprehension this month. She really seems to understand a lot of what we are saying all of a sudden. She even handed my wife a pair of socks when asked “Avery, may I have those socks?” I guess I’m going to have to stop talking bad about people behind their backs sooner than I thought…
She crawls anywhere she wants to go, and fast. I blink and she’s in the next room, pulling everything out of the kitchen cupboards.
She has started pulling herself up on furniture and on the baby gates, but she just gets up on her knees for now.
She can hold herself in standing position with balance help from us for what seems like an unlimited amount of time. Won’t be long before she combines the pulling up with her leg strength and starts running laps around us.
Spent most of the month with a passion for destroying things (towers of blocks, puzzles, etc.) and this past week she has started showing an interest in putting things together. I believe this is consistent with the Wonder Weeks Leap 7, right on schedule.
Books. Still really into touch and feel books, and will sometimes bring me a book and cuddle up on my lap of her own accord so I’ll read to her.
Favourite foods this month: Pickles (doesn’t even make a sour face), canned peaches, and as always, beef.
Balls. She has a couple of different balls in her toy basket, and when she gets a hold of them, she refuses to let go. I once let her hold one while I changed her diaper and she held onto it without a single fumble as I changed her, took her out to the car, drove to home depot, shopped with her buckled into the cart, buckled her back in the car seat, took her in the house, and unloaded the car. It’s also adorable when she has a ball in each hand and you present her with a third ball… She tries valiantly to hold all three at once using her arms, her chin, whatever she has to do to not let go of a ball.
There are many things that Avery dislikes right now. She is a very opinionated tiny baby. What sets her dislikes apart this month from previous months is how she shares with the world that she’s displeased. She used to cry. Now she whines and screams. A blood curdling, angry scream. If she was someone else’s kid I’d have no patience for that kind of temperament, but she is my kid, and I somehow love her for it. Not only in spite of it, but for it. She has such a strong sense of what she likes and doesn’t like, and she isn’t always the easiest to please. She demands a lot from the world. Good for her.
My dad recently told me about a second cousin twice removed who has this happy go lucky baby, always smiling, never gets upset… “what a lovely baby to be around. He’s so easy.” And there’s my baby having a terrible-twos-esque tantrum on the floor because she didn’t like the way someone looked at her. So yeah, my baby has a lot of dislikes right now. They have little to do with the subject of her dislike and a lot to do with her developing high expectations of the world.
She actually turned 9 months on Wednesday, but I wanted to wait for her Dr appointment today to update with her growth stats.
This past month has been a tough one with the 8 month sleep regression, the colds, the nap transition, the teething, and the new mobility milestones that have been more frustrating to Avery than useful at this point (i.e., army crawling backwards). But her personality continues to develop in amazing ways, and she is finally growing hair… 😉
New This Month
Crawling. She started the backwards scoot at 8 months, and on the day she turned 9 months she took her first few crawling steps forward. Now she’s unstoppable (but still seems frustrated by how hard it is).
Teething: OMG the teething. After 2 months of teething (and black and blue bruised gums) she finally cut FIVE more teeth all in the last two weeks. Both upper central incisors, an upper lateral incisor, an upper canine, and a lower lateral incisor. It’s been fun… She now has 7 teeth and I’m so proud of her for growing them 😊 Unfortunately she seems to be working on a molar because she crams things way back in her mouth to chomp.
She gives kisses. She gently presses her open mouth against your face and it is clearly an intentional kiss. So far she has given kisses to her Mo and I, as well as to my mom. She also gives air kisses where she actually makes the lip smacking noise. It’s freaking adorable.
Language developments: Talks to the cats in call and answer. She meows at them, they meow back, and on it goes. So her first word is a meow. I don’t think we’ll count it… On the other hand, she’s also practicing with new consonants and stringing them together to make adorable gibberish. We try to get her to repeat “Hi” back to us and she says “aaiii”.
Whining. This is a new sound as of last week and it is not pretty… I’m trying to ignore it as much as possible, work hard on our signs so she can communicate in other ways, and use positive reinforcement when she tries to communicate in non-whiney ways. I’m accepting tips from my readers too if you have other ways to deal with whining.
She had a growth spurt. We had just nicely settled into a 12 month wardrobe, and all of a sudden the pants no longer fit her in length or girth. We bought her 12-18 month summer clothes. She’s a big baby.
Her hair is growing, but it’s still pretty short. She has a good Mohawk going on, and long whisps of hair above her ears that stick out over her ears in the most adorable way.
Transitioned to 2 naps a day. It made her pretty cranky at first, but the signs were there that she was ready, so we spent pretty much all month slowly transitioning her away from the 3rd nap. It’s so nice to have a little more time to do things with her before she needs to be back in bed, but it also means I have a lot less time to get work done while she sleeps…
Not new, but confirmed from last month that she is indeed signing for “milk”. It’s much clearer now, and this month there’s no mistaking it for random hand and arm movements.
Starting to point to things. This was confusing for us at first because it looked a bit like the milk sign, but she has started sticking her finger out a little more now when it’s a point.
Playing with hair. She gets so engrossed in playing with chunks of my hair, teasing out one strand at a time.
Touch and Feel books. She finally gets it that she can feel different textures on every page, and she’ll turn the pages herself when she’s ready to feel the next thing. Her favourites are: That’s Not My Kitten (thanks to a fellow blogger for that one!), Tails, and Touch and Feel Zoo.
Food. This months some of her favourites have been her burgers that I loaded with onions and chili powder, blueberries (great for baby-led weaning), and those flavourless rice puffs that we stick in the diaper bag for hangry emergencies when we’re out. She uses both hands to shovel them in her mouth.
When someone coughs or sneezes. Which was a problem when we were all sick. She doesn’t easily startle at anything else, but coughs or sneezes set her off into a really scared cry that is hard to calm her down from.
Hates getting into her pajamas at night, but Mo came up with a game that really helps: she pretends to bite each finger as it comes through the sleeve. Avery trades in crying for hysterical laughter at this game.
From our nine in nine out photo shoot
From our themed monthly photo shoot
Those baby blues… Her eye colour beat the odds. Our donor has brown eyes and I have hazel.
The army crawl
Grandma letting her taste the difference between this year’s new leaf growth and last year’s dead leaves… She’s really enjoying being a nature educator to her granddaughter.
Eating berries and chunks of banana for breakfast with baby-led weaning
That face though…
Breakfast on the go, stroller walk to soak up the sun
Guys, Avery is 2/3rds of the way through her first year. I know how often new parents are warned, “it goes by so fast,” but holy hell, I think time is speeding up with every passing month. New This Month
Crawling is on the horizon. She scoots forward and backward on her tummy. She gets up on all fours and sways. She spends more time voluntarily in Cobra position than on her bum now.
She likes to hand her toys to us, she reaches into her toy basket and pulls out what she wants, and she shakes her shaker to the beat.
She gives HUGS. Heart melting, arms around you hugs. She’ll reach over and wrap her arms around us, lay her head on an arm or shoulder and gaze up at us with a smile.
She has been teething on and off for the last 2 months, but no new teeth yet. Gums swell and white tooth tips poke through and then recede.
Still battling eczema. Her body has been pretty much free and clear since 6 months, but her face and forearms were really bad (and constituted yet another trip to the doctor) through her entire 7th month. Now, with the help of a higher dose of corticosteroid (that we weren’t 100% comfortable with), her skin is usually a lot less inflamed. If we discontinue use of the higher dose of steroid, though, it flares right back up again. Not ideal, since it’s for temporary use only.
First cold. It lasted 4 days and although there were some tough times to get through, she was super brave through the experience.
She drinks water from one of those 360° anti spill baby cups, just to wash down food when she eats lunch and dinner. She skipped the sippy cup with the spout – never did get the hang of it.
Takes the bottle!!! We went 7 months dealing with her outright refusal to take the bottle, but we kept offering it (and kept having to dump pumped, expired milk down the drain 😢), and then one day she just guzzled a bottle down. Of course now we’re kind of outgrowing the bottle stage anyway… But it will be helpful for the two upcoming bedtimes Mo will have to do without me (because of evening work meetings…)
She can eat most meals without getting food on the floor. Baby led weaning has done wonders on her pincher grasp. She’ll grab things like a single black bean and get it right in her mouth. And if we try to help her out with a spoonful she ignores it and prefers to feed herself. She eats everything we give her.
We think she is starting to sign “milk.” we’ve been doing baby sign language from the start (about 4 months) and we’re eager to see when she’ll have the motor control to start doing signs herself. She doesn’t do the whole motion for milk, but she holds her fist out to us and seems very excited when I respond by letting her nurse.
She and the cats are working their shit out. She grabbed a tail too tightly and the cat screeched at her, and Avery started to cry. Avery also cries if the one cat beats up the other cat, so I think she recognizes when a cat is being hurt or bothered and she doesn’t want that to happen. Since that interaction, she has been much more gentle. Still tries to grab them tightly if she gets too excited, but for the most part is happy to just watch them walk by. One cat even slept on her lap and she just smiled and sat quietly and enjoyed the moment.
She has gotten over a lot of her stranger anxiety and separation anxiety (although I’m cautious about this one because I think it’s supposed to peak a lot later) and now lets almost anyone hold her if we give her fair warning. The only person she still seems to have a problem with is her 1 year old cousin…
She sleeps in her crib at night now after spending most of this month sleeping with me on the floor mattress in her room. She sleeps for 1 to 3 hours at a time on her own now before waking and crying for me.
Naps are good – predictable and easy (nurses to sleep and I do the ninja roll away, or bounces to sleep in the carrier). She has 3 naps a day: 8:30-9:30, 11:30-1:30, and 4-5. This was her naturally set schedule that we supported and nurtured, rather than enforced. We’re now getting her used to napping alone in her room using the old floor mattress trick.
Yesterday she napped in her room for 2 hours while I got a bunch of gardening done in the backyard with the baby monitor in my pocket. Definitely a first for that kind of independent nap in her room.
She still loves music class. She loves musicand dancing outside of the class, too. When we dance around the house to oldies she kicks her legs to the beat, and when we clap for her, she slaps her knees to the beat. I really don’t care if she pursues music lessons as a kid or not, but she comes from a musical family and I know her grandparents in particular would love it if she continued to get enjoyment from it.
Some of her favourite new foods this month have been: asparagus, trout, broccoli and meatloaf (omg she loved that meatloaf…). She’s a savoury girl. She makes a sour face at even the sweetest homemade apple sauce (which isn’t what I expected given that my pregnancy craving was lemons!).
Thank god she loves sitting outside with us, just chilling in the back yard, playing with grass. She loves grass, and has already eaten some when I looked away. And some dirt. We’re going to be spending a lot of time in the back yard this summer what with building our chicken coop (and caring for chickens) and putting in a full garden this year that I didn’t have the energy for last year in my third trimester of pregnancy.
Sharing with her cousin. Although she’s happy to hand her toys over to her Mo and I, heaven forbid her 1 year old cousin tries to play with a toy she’s holding… One of the books we’re going to read in an upcoming parenting book club meeting is It’s ok not to share. I’m really curious about this book. I was always a terrible sharer (and still am… I’ll stab your hand with my fork if you think you’re sharing my food), but it’s important to me that Avery learn to share because I think it’s a part of being kind and compassionate to others.
Bedtime. Her bedtime routine hasn’t changed, but now when she gets to the pyjama part of the routine she starts crying. Then she’s usually happy to brush her teeth, but cries wildly again when it’s time to settle in the dark. Maybe she really understands that it means sleep time now, and she is fighting sleep?
Putting her arms through sleeves. I’m paranoid that she must have had her pinky bent back a few times and has built up this association with putting sleeves on. We can’t get a sweater on without tears.
Sour things. She isn’t a big fan of kiwi or pineapple or off season berries that are sour. She’ll eat them (this girl never refuses food…), but she grimaces through it. Hopefully as we come into fresh spring berries in our back yard and at the market she’ll like them.
Phew, this was a big update! She is developing so much every day now that the changes from month to month seem huge. And now we’re seeing more personality developments and big mobility milestones, which is even more exciting than the earlier months (although first smile and laugh were pretty epic). I can’t even fathom what I’ll be writing about her this time next month. The changes are so individual to her unique personality and developmental trajectory now. It just gets better and better….
Avery is a happy baby. She deals with everything from being overtired to getting bumps and bruises with so much more patience now. She’s also a super active baby. She gets in her bouncer or jolly jumper and bounces like it’s goin’ out of style, laughing the whole time.
THIS is what I had hoped having a baby would be like. She’s my little buddy, my best friend, my adorable accessory, my reason and reminder for having fun in life.
New this month
Started baby music class – oh my god she LOVES it. She starts giggling as soon as we sit down in the circle of other babies and laughs and kicks her way through all the songs.
She’s sitting up so solidly that I can leave her sitting on the floor if I need both hands for something. Good timing, because she has outgrown her swing and chair. She actually climbed out of her chair and I found her on the floor. Good thing it was only a couple of inches off the ground.
She eats solids like it’s going out of style. We spoon feed her only the runniest of foods (like prunes or soup), and for the most part have given in to the ways of baby-led weaning. She grabs for whatever we’re eating, and we usually give her at least a taste, unless it’s really unhealthy… She even had French fries (well, a fry and a half) at the pub.
Separation anxiety has kicked into full gear this month. Her stranger-danger has gotten worse, and now I can’t even go to the bathroom without her crying (unless her Mo is with her)
She’s working on her leg strength and is getting pretty good at supporting her own weight. Still no sign of crawling or even rolling over from front to back. She’s learning things in her own time.
Food. Her favourites this month have been Oxtail soup, liver pâte, and lentil dal.
Music class. She’s got the rhythm in her.
Bath time. She doesn’t want to get out of the tub now that she has toy boats to play with.
The cats. Still obsessed with the cats. Gets pretty upset if one walks by and she doesn’t get to pet it.
Separation from her moms. Even just for a second if I want to go to the bathroom. Hurry up and learn object permanence, kid. I will come back, I swear.
Being held by anyone else. Right now my mom is the only person besides my wife and I who can hold Avery without her crying, and that’s because she visits frequently enough and we work on positive voices and body language for the whole visit before she tries to hold Avery.
Not getting what she wants. Er, we may have a bit of a spoiled baby on our hands already. I’m pretty sure it’s just a phase. Can’t pet the cats? Cries. Can’t have our cell phones in her mouth? Cries. Can’t touch the hot coffee? Cries. At least she’s still easily distractable!
My baby is no longer an infant. I don’t actually know if there is a scientific cut-off point for this, but I’m calling it. She’s a movin’ and shakin’ baby and she’s showing me that she’s not so delicate anymore as she tries to drag herself over my lap and faceplants. Or as she smacks herself in the face repeatedly with the toy she is whipping and throwing around. Good thing she’s not so delicate anymore, because I dropped my phone on her head and gave her her first goose egg. #mommyfail
We had her 6 month well-baby visit (Dr. appt) today and she did really well. She waited for the doctor for an hour, half of that was spent naked in the cold exam room. She was also way overdue for a nap. So proud of her. If you recall, the last two times she had vaccines I asked the nurse if I could hold her and both nurses said no. This time the nurse told me to hold her, and it went SO. MUCH. BETTER. Considering Avery was already crying a bit when the nurse came in the room, she only cried for a few seconds after getting her shot and it was a lot less heart wrenching. This nurse is my new best friend.
Length: 25 3/4″
New this month
First solid food, Feb 8th, 2017
First water out of a sippy cup. Not her first water consumption though – the real firsts came from the bathtub and swimming pool where she laps it up like a dog.
Started brushing her teeth at night (no toothpaste, just water)
Hair is starting to grow. Its finally getting thicker and actually looks messy when its not brushed. From a distance, though, she still looks pretty bald.
Playing the drop-and-pickup game. She started to realize the pattern of “drop this, and it comes back”, so I guess this is her learning object permanence.
So many new sounds, including the lip vibrating thing where they blow out through pursed lips. What’s that called? Blowing raspberries?
Rolling over from back to front.
Sitting up on her own. She used to topple forward when she reached for her toes, but now she can sit pretty and play with her toes.
Outgrew her skip-hop playmat. The little dangling animals that she’s supposed to reach for now rest on her body (all four corners at once), and she only spends about 60 seconds on the mat before scooting or rolling onto the floor. So we upgraded to one of those big interlocking foam play mats. Our house is really starting to look like a kid lives here. My wife wants to sell our dining table that seats 12 and buy a small one so we will have more room for Avery to run around. I’m not quite ready to give up my canvas for seasonal tablescapes yet though…
Also outgrew the bassinet configuration on our stroller. Its time to let down the foot rest that has been velcroed up as one wall of the bassinet and let her feet dangle.
First time in the jolly jumper (and of course the best picture I captured has a pack of toilet paper in the background)
And finally, first goose egg / bruise. And it was my fault. She only cried for a few seconds before I got her distracted though, so it went about as well as it could have.
Being tickled. Mo gets her worked up into a fit of giggles by tickling her.
Bath toys. In swimming class she learned how fun it can be to chase a toy through the water, and now she has taken an interest in toys in the bathtub. Mo bought her a pack of little boats for bath time. We also can’t keep her in the little baby bath chair anymore – she just wants to splash and be free.
Being cuddled in the Moby wrap when she’s tired but not ready to go to sleep. We’ve extended her bedtime a little by doing this (5pm was just too early for us even though that’s when she seemed to naturally crash).
The jolly jumper
The sun… We have a little vampire baby. This is her face literally every time she goes out in the sun.
When Avery exited newborn-hood I took notes on what I wanted to remember about those precious early days. Now that she’s half a year and sitting up on her own and starting to understand the world around her on a whole new level of complexity, I want to take note of how she is right now. I love the way her face lights up when she wakes up and sees that I’m there with her. I love the way she burrows her little body into me while we sleep (even though it pushes me to the edge of the bed and is kind of uncomfortable…). I love the way she plays with my necklace while she nurses, and how she feels my face with her tiny hand as if she’s learning every feature. I love the sound of her laugh, her yawn, and even her shrieks. She is growing and learning so much every day, and I always want to cherish the connection we have – we are still the whole world to each other.
Became interested in petting the cats – coincidentally we’re teaching her the sign language for “gentle”…
CUT HER FIRST TOOTH! On Sunday Jan 22nd we first felt it during an evening gum massage (since she has been teething she needs intermittent gum massages while nursing). I interrupted a half-complete bedtime routine to call my wife in to feel it and shine a bright light in her face to see it. Worth it. I was so proud all night.
Sitting up with minimal support – she can now sit up in the bumbo and her booster seat but when she sees something on the ground that she wants she will fold over sideways and not be able to hoist herself back up straight.
Spins 360° while lying on her back. I often find her laying in the opposite direction than I put her down in in her crib.
Scoots/inches down while on her back. She can move a couple of feet while I have my back turned, which just means she ends up on the hard floor instead of on her play mat.
Personality trait: shy. She’s a goofy, noisy, adventurous hooligan at home, and a quiet, observant, clingy baby when we’re anywhere else. Just like me.
The cats – she gets really excited when she sees one, she reaches for them, smiles a big open-mouth smile when she pets them, and loves to watch the kitten play with her toys…
Her wubbanub pacifier (but just as a teething chew toy…)
Her activity bouncer – new for her this month now that her neck is strong enough)
Books and being read to – but we started noticing papercuts from trying to play with the pages. Its too bad cloth and cardboard books aren’t as fun for the adults to read…
Swimming lessons – she LOVES the water. No fears, no tears.
Outings, getting out of the house and going on short car trips. I’m thinking my hermit personality may not have been inherited by my daughter.
Teething (although it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated – she’s quite happy chewing the shit out of things to take the pressure off. I think its the upcoming molars that parents curse…)
The bottle – as soon as she realizes that we expect her to drink from it instead of just chew on it, she screams. Literally, screams like an enraged newborn until she gets the boob, even if she has to wait an hour for it.
The sleep regression definitely isn’t her favorite experience… Makes her an overtired Cranky Pants McGee.
I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe I have a 5 month old. I’ve watched my sister-in-law with her baby who is 5 months older than Avery, and when we hit each new month I think about how her cousin was at that age and it feels so old. It almost feels like she is catching up to him…
*we plan to take the monthly staged picture today but we’ll see how the day goes… Balancing our religious obsession with getting naps and my need to do work means there’s little time for fun 😐
I kind of can’t believe I’m writing about Avery’s 4th month. She is 4 months old… Mind blowing. Through all of the peak fussiness, colic, immature bowels – whatever it was that made the first 3 months so hard, I kept looking toward 4 months like a light at the end of the tunnel – and it is!
Weight: 15lb 4oz
She can now…
Sit up on her own from a reclined position and hold herself up for a minute
Coordinate putting things in her mouth with ease
Do push-ups during tummy time
Roll over from back to front if she is motivated by something (food or toy)
Shriek, scream, roar, sweetly sigh, and laugh. Oh the laughter! Melt my heart!
Grab her toes
Teething has begun!
Her moms. We feel really special right now.
Bath time. Because of the eczema we’ve been giving her daily oatmeal baths. I get in the big bath tub with her every morning right after waking up and we talk and float and splash. I hope she will love swimming lessons as much as bath time!
Her play mat. The dangling toys are finally entertaining for her, and she can do all sorts of kicking and rolling on the mat.
Watching TV. Mostly we watch nature documentaries and Harry Potter. She sits on my lap facing out and we are couch potatoes together. Teaching my daughter some great habits…
Not much! She has become a really happy baby. The only things that upset her now are being overtired, gassy, or having a really itchy eczema flare up.
As today is Christmas Eve, we will be celebrating Avery’s first Christmas tomorrow. Our family isn’t religious, but we love the lights, the food, the music, and being with our loved ones. This year there are two babies in the family where there were none last year, so we have all gone a little nuts on gifts for the kids. Too bad (or good thing) they won’t understand what’s going on yet! So much for saying we didn’t want Avery to be spoiled with toys and unnecessary possessions. It’s hard not to spoil them!
In light of the holiday that is upon us, here are the Christmas cards we sent out this year 😉