Avery’s 8th Month

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

         Mobility/Gross Motor

  • 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. 

        Health

  • 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. 

         Nutrition/Baby-Led Weaning 

  • 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. 

        Social

  • 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… 

         Sleep

  • 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. 

        Likes

        • She still loves music class. She loves music and 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. 

        Dislikes

        • 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…. 

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          Avery’s 7th Month

          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. 

              Likes

              • 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. 

              Dislikes

              • 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! 

              Avery’s 6th Month

              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. 

              Weight: 17lb

              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?
              • Two teeth!
              •  
              • 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.

                  Likes

                  • 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

                  Dislikes

                  • vaccines…
                  • 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.

                        Avery’s 5th month

                        Length: 26″
                        Weight: 16 lb

                        New this month:

                        • Started swimming lessons
                        • 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.
                        • Sleep regression
                        • 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.

                          Likes:

                          • 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)
                          • Bath time
                          • 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. 

                          Dislikes:

                          • 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 😐

                            Avery’s 4th month

                            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!

                            Length: 26″

                            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!

                            Likes

                            • 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…

                            Dislikes

                            • 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 😉

                            Avery’s 3rd month


                            Weight: 14 lb

                            Length: 25″

                            Firsts: 

                            Snow fall

                            She slept through it and none of the snow stayed on the ground, but it was really special to me. I’m starting a tradition where I write the date of the first snow fall of each year of her childhood on the bottom of a cookie jar. Oct 27, 2016.

                            Halloween

                            Her Mo made her her first Halloween costume, sort of. We used an existing brown bunting that makes her look like a bear, and Mo made a tattered looking head scarf to go with it, making her an ewok. She didn’t enjoy one second of being dressed up and eventually, after a series of adorable photos of her crying, I rescued her from the torture and she spent Halloween evening snuggling on her moms while we took turns handing out candy.

                            She can now…

                            She has started rolling over from her back to her front while in our bed for cuddle time. She seems to love sleeping on her side in fetal position (when she’s not sleeping spread eagle), but rolling onto her front is more of an uncomfortable experience because she can’t quite get her arm out from under her.

                            She’s getting handsy… This month she really discovered her hands and what they can do. She loves chewing on her fingers, grabbing my hair, deep tissue massaging my chest while she eats, and she has started holding and maneuvering toys. Her toys so far are Sofie and the little plush things hanging from her vibrating chair.

                            She can now laugh! It’s a cough-like cackle of a laugh, but it’s definitely a laugh. She laughs in response to being tickled on the cheek, to our high pitched baby talk, and sometimes to the simple experience of seeing my face looking over her when she wakes up in the morning.

                            She got a “lovie”. A friend gifted her with a little organic cotton and wool bunny lovie and after I wore it under my shirt for a day she has been incredibly attached to it.

                            Sleep: AMAZING. I don’t know if it’s because we started using a sleep sack, or thanks to the comfort of her lovie, or just general development, but she now has some 6 hour stretches. For a just 3 month old exclusively breastfed baby I am counting my lucky stars. She has always been a pro-star sleeper, but a great night to me was a 4 hour stretch, then 3 hours, then 2 hours. That was our norm for the past month. Suddenly she made a leap in sleep duration. Please please please, 4 month sleep regression, go easy on us when you come.

                            Likes

                            • Diaper changing time. She’s all smiles while she talks to me about all the fun she is having in life so far.
                            • Sleeping in our bed. We only do this at bedtime for easy and relaxing nursing, and in the morning for family cuddle time, but she looks sooo comfy.
                            • Watching me from her vibrating chair as I prepare breakfast and wash dishes.
                            • The love affair with the ceiling fan continues.
                            • Her bunny (lovie)
                            • Short car rides
                            • Baths. We have started having daily oatmeal baths for her eczema and she loves the floating around. She kicks off the sides of the tub with her feet and scoots through the water (supported by my hands of course). She’s even ok with getting out of the bath and getting moisturized now.

                            Dislikes

                            • Missing nap time…
                            • Pooping after a long night of holding it. She can now poop without even thinking about it through the day, but that first morning poop requires straining still and frustrates her a lot.

                            And with this, she exits newbornhood. I want to always remember how her little tiny fingers feel wrapped around my finger. How her breath smells sweet and milky, like soy milk that has been soaking Honey Nut Cheerios, while she sleeps so innocently with her mouth wide open. I want to remember how she fit so well in between Mo and Mommy in bed for cuddle time and how we spent so much time gazing down at her peaceful, sleeping little body and each held one of her little hands. I want to remember those first smiles and early cough-like laughs, all over something as small as seeing my face, or having her cheek tickled. She grew so much over the past 3 months – her whole body used to fit along my forearm as I nursed her, and now her feet touch the couch when I hold her in my arms.

                            Avery’s Second Month

                            The 2nd month of Avery’s life (and my second month as a mom) has been a mixed bag. Overall she cried more and was more difficult to soothe than in her first month, but she was so much more alert and aware and we were able to bond even more closely and learn a bit about each other.
                            We went on lots of fall walks, both in the stroller and the baby bjorn. She celebrated her first Thanksgiving and went to a pumpkin patch in preparation for her first Hallowe’en. She even went to her first bonfire.

                            She started having naps in the crib (as opposed to only in the bassinet or in my arms). She can even put herself to sleep sometimes. She also sleeps in now, until 8:30, which gives me an extra 2 hours in the morning that used to be spent trying to soothe her. She also doesn’t mind the baby swing anymore so I can get the dishes done in the time that she is content in it.

                            Likes:

                            • Sound of the vacuum
                            • Nursing. All. The. Time. Especially side lying in bed, which works for tired old me!
                            • Mommy and Mo’s (that’s what we’ve decided to call ourselves) voices and faces
                            • Tummy time
                            • Piano lullabies on YouTube (https://youtu.be/Wm15rvkifPc)
                            • Ceiling fan in our bedroom – she stares at it for ages, and it even calms her down we hold her under it. The blades are black against a white ceiling so I think she likes the black & white pattern.
                            • Car rides
                            • Stroller walks
                            • Floating in the bath with Mommy or Mo
                            • Walking around the kitchen in my arms in the morning while I try to make coffee and breakfast with one hand. Lots of wide eyes and smiles as she surveys our kitchen from over my shoulder.
                            • Being in the baby bjorn with Mo (but not with me, for some reason).

                            Dislikes:

                            • Evenings
                            • Having to poop
                            • Getting out of the bath
                            • Baby massage (who doesn’t like massage?!)
                            • Baby swings or chairs or mats or anything marketed toward newborn baby entertainment…

                            I’m so proud of my little bug’s development and I’m loving getting to know her little personality. She is finally learning to sleep for longer stretches, too, with her first sleep “through the night” (AKA 5 hours) happening at 7 weeks. Hasn’t happened again since, but I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

                            She had her 2 month doctor appointment (no more midwife visits 🙁) and she got her first vaccines (she was such a trooper only crying for a minute). At her 2 month appointment, which was 7 weeks and 5 days, she weighed 12lb 4oz, up 4 pounds from birth. Her length was still 23″.