30 Days of Blogging, Day 30

My blogging challenge has come to a close. I’ve loved writing for 30 days straight, and I’ve learned a lot about what’s most important/pressing to me in life by what I’ve chosen to recount. Lots about sleep and breastfeeding, not surprisingly. That’s mostly what you get from me if you follow my blog! That, and a spattering of chicken talk and pics of homemade bread.

Tonight I’m going to write about something we haven’t been plagued with in quite a while – teething. Avery has started teething her 2-year molars. Last night she woke up at 1:30am crying (which she hasn’t been doing for the past couple of weeks – she wakes and asks calmly for me to come in and give her milk). This time she was inconsolable. I tried offering milk, I tried cuddling her, I tried bringing her back to our bed, but she wasn’t having any of it. I tried taking her downstairs to watch tv but we have a basement tenant and she was still crying downstairs, so I figured that wasn’t a sustainable option. Finally at 2:15am we put on Moana in our bedroom. She fell asleep cuddled into me watching her favourite movie. It was so adorable.

This morning she felt hot to touch, but didn’t have a fever. Her cheeks were red. She wouldn’t take her fingers out of the back of her mouth. She barely touched breakfast, snack, or lunch. Advil was a game changer – clearly she was feeling pain.

Although we can’t see swelling at the gums, it’s hard to see back there, and the teeth could be moving down but not at the edges of the gums yet. I’m 99% sure that teething is on the table. I hope they come soon, but I’ve heard that the 2-year molars can take a long time to work their way down. It’s also kind of shocking to think that my little baby is working on the last baby teeth she will ever grow…

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Avery’s 9th month

Nine months in, nine months out

Height: 28″ (65th percentile) 

Weight: 21 lb (93rd percentile) 

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. 

Likes

  • 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. 

Dislikes

  • 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. 

    Photo Spam! 

    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

    Spends most of her time up on all fours now

    Four Pillars of a Bad Night’s Sleep

    Avery is sick. She is teething. She seems to be going through the 8 month sleep regression, and the 3-to-2 per day nap transition. We haven’t slept in days. 

    The Sick

    I think she must have gotten sick from the Tylenol dropper… Is that possible? We gave it to her last time she was sick, and let her suck on the dropper. In a tired haze, I put it back in the bottle without washing it. Last week we used the Tylenol again for a bad bout of teething. Now she is a Cranky Pants Sicky McGee. Her nose is a faucet and she wakes every 15 minutes because she can’t breathe/is uncomfortable. She’s in our bed again for the duration of the cold, but I spend most of the night sitting up with her because being upright helps her breathing. 

    The Teething

    She has been working on FIVE new teeth and two have fully broken through in the time she’s been sick. Her upper central incisors have been black and blue with bruising and one has finally come through, one upper lateral incisor has cut through and for once doesn’t seem to be receding back into the gum again, and I can see white points under the gums at both lower lateral incisors. 

    The 8 Month Sleep Regression 

    Before she got sick (for about a week and a half now) she started getting harder to put down in the crib again. Our 15 minute bedtime routine has returned to a 2 hour bedtime routine and I have once again lost my evenings. She wakes every 45 minutes again. We’ve been surviving and waiting for it to pass, but with the sick/teething drama it’s been harder to deal with. 

    The Nap Transition 

    Avery has always been a high sleep needs baby, and she has also always been a good daytime napper (although I’ve always let her nap in the Moby Wrap or on the boob). She had been on a great schedule for a couple of months: 8-9, 11:30-1:30, and 4-5. I think she’s showing signs of being ready to transition to 2 naps a day. The signs are: skipping naps entirely despite us spending an hour just laying in the dark at each scheduled nap time; shorter naps, from 1-2 hours to 30 minutes; especially fighting her third nap of the day but then falling asleep on the go at 6pm, which messes up bedtime. 

    I hope she feels better soon and finishes with those teeth soon. We’ve learned that we can deal with sleep struggles, but we really didn’t need the extra crap piling on to already shitty sleep. 

    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.

              Christmas market and definitely teething

              On the weekend we went to our local vintage and makers market. A friend was exhibiting her photography/holiday cards there this year, and we left Avery with her while we toured the market. This was a BIG deal for me, and I didn’t pay much attention to the vendors as I tried to rush us around the loop and back to our friend with our baby. It was no biggie for Avery. She just chilled and helped sell cards. We bought her some cute pants and a bib made by a local mom who was breastfeeding her baby while she sold us her product (rock on, super-mom), and we bought some eczema cream, because we are trying literally everything. The pants in this tummy time pic are from the market.

              Also this weekend we bottled some beer that we made two weekends ago, and I did some dairy-free baking. Praise coconut oil.

              Avery is definitely teething. Here’s how I know:

              • Nursing strike
              • Soothed by frozen teethers
              • Restless nights
              • Tugs on her ears when upset
              • Drool has increased exponentially

              She has started a nursing strike during the day, and only nurses well when she’s half asleep. She’ll throw her head back and cry, then try again, and get upset again. I’ve found that offering her frozen teethers as an intermission during nursing sessions really helps. What I’ve read about nursing and teething is that the sucking draws blood to the gums which exacerbates the soreness. Chewing on the cold teethers (or my finger) applies counter-pressure which soothes the pain.

              She also had some really shitty nights of tossing and turning this past week. I was wondering if it was the 4 month sleep regression already, but it only lasted a few days. Now I’m thinking it’s from teething discomfort. When I bed-share some nights she sleeps much better because every time she wakes up whimpering she cuddles into me and falls asleep again from the comfort of my smell (I speculate).

              The drool is intense. We never before had to deal with frequent costume changes or bib use because she wasn’t a spit-up-prone or barfy baby. The drooling started about a month ago and I thought it was a lot, but I realize now that teething drool is a whole new experience. It now comes out in globs, her chin is constantly wet, and we now have to keep her in bibs because her shirts were getting soaked through in a matter of minutes.

              Anyway, she’s actually in really great spirits for a teething baby, but that might change when the tooth is closer to cutting through. I’m actually really excited for her first tooth. I don’t want her to grow up, but I’m so excited to see her developing into each new stage. She is really into practicing rolling and sitting. The day she sat up straight on her own (from a reclined position), she wanted to practice all night long. She gets such a kick out of learning. This age is the best.

              Stormy week and TEETHING??

              She may have started teething… She is still in really great spirits, but the drool has intensified and she is chewing – hard – on everything. She seems to really like the cold teething toys. She also pulls on her ears when she is fussy, so I am wondering if it’s all connected. Guess we won’t know until we see a tooth, which could be a couple of months away still.

              The eczema is still a problem. I can’t wait until my update reads “eczema cured!!”… I had switched from the Cetaphil to a hypoallergenic Live Clean oatmeal blend because the Cetaphil seemed too watery and wasn’t actually softening her skin. Turns out the Live Clean cream, while definitely making her legs softer, was stinging on her back and chest. It took me too many days to figure out why she cried so much during moisturizing, and why she flared up after baths. So now we are back to using coconut oil, and I have ordered 100% Shea butter to blend it with. That mix has been recommended by a couple of moms with eczema babies, and it’s so pure I can’t see how it could possibly irritate her more. I hope. The only problem with using coconut oil is that our kitten is obsessed with it and tries to lick it off of her. Cows Milk Protein Allergy diet is still being strictly followed and it’s getting easier. 

              The weather this week was terrible for travelling. My mom came for her every-other-wednesday visit and got storm-stayed. She had to spend two nights on our couch before the roads opened again, and my wife had to spend her first night away from the baby when she couldn’t get home from work and had to stay in the city over night. Aside from missing my wife, it was actually quite nice to have my mom around for two days. Avery really loves her grandma, and can be just as easily calmed in her arms as in mine. We drank wine and ate cozy slow-cooked meals and I felt less alone, which was really, really needed after being trapped in the house with my car not starting and my wife only being home for one day in a fortnight during waking hours. 

              My SIL and Avery’s 9 month old cousin are supposed to be visiting tomorrow, but the forecast still doesn’t look good for travelling, so we’ll see. I think my dad made the right choice to buy a last minute plane ticket instead of trying to drive from two (Northern) provinces away to be here for Christmas. This time last year I was watching the grey skies for signs of snowflakes, and photographing spring bulbs breaking the soil in the garden. I was saddened by global warming and the loss of a white Christmas. This year I’m not complaining about the weather! I just hope we don’t end up storm stayed anywhere over the holidays.