Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sitting Pretty

Soon after publishing my last post my Little Miss sat unaided for the first time and is now doing it regularly. Occasionally she still topples over, like this morning when I was showing off her new trick to her Auntie Karen and this afternoon at Gymbaroo when she face-planted into her hard plastic treasure bag toy whilst I was temporarily distracted. Isn't that always the way? Baby does something new and clever and consistently shows off new trick to parents for days but then as soon as parents proudly display new trick to someone else baby temporarily forgets how to do it.

Well, here's evidence:

And more:

Yes, I'm ridiculously proud, especially as all the books say she'll sit around 6 months old and she isn't even 4 ½ months. She's very advanced.

We have now set up the little booster seat that Andrei and Karen leant us, which just straps to a dining chair and so she has an alternative sitting option for when I'm doing boring stuff like the laundry or the dinner. I will soon be purchasing various equipment in preparation for her weaning (by which I mean starting her on solids as opposed to getting her off breast milk), including some nice soft weaning spoons and a sippy cup (I figured there isn't much point in persisting with the bottle; we may as well go straight to a cup now) and eventually some freezer pots and a hand blender. Oh, how quickly they grow.

Unfortunately, the poor love, as well as dealing with her millions of injections and learning her impressive new skill, is really suffering with her teeth. Her bottom two teeth are almost through; the bumps are more prominent and when she does manage to let me see her gums (a rare occurrence on account of her love of sticking out her tongue) I am sure I can see bits of white so I'm hoping that they will break through very soon and give her some relief. She's started to bite my boob and even though I don't have particularly sensitive nipples it's a less than pleasant experience.

Just for the hell of it before I go, here's a short movie of her learning to sit:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where did the time go?

One month since my last update, four months since Phoebe was born (18 weeks tomorrow)... where did the time go?

Little Miss P has changed so much over the last 4 weeks. Just in the last few days she has taken to sucking her bottom lip (teething, perhaps?) and it totally changes the look of her face. She looks really funny. She cries less and is more vocal, shouting when she's a bit annoyed about something. About two weeks ago at Gymbaroo she rolled by herself down the soft play wedge and has since rolled quite a few times, including onto her back during mat time at Gymbaroo when she got fed up with being on her tummy.

She has also started to commando crawl although doesn't go very far and gets tired easily. Last night Toby put her down on her tummy in the middle of a large floor cushion then went to run her bath. When I next looked at her she was on the edge of the cushion and then she rolled off it.

As well as continuing with her standing fetish, she is now learning to sit and is getting pretty good at doing it on her own although I suspect her cloth nappies may help a bit by giving her a stable base. She definitely has the strength to sit up on her own but needs to work on her balance a bit. She can stay still for a few seconds but then she topples over, which she seems to think is great fun. If she's holding onto something, such as my finger or a toy then she can balance for much longer.

She seems to be over her fear of going to bed. I think we really only get the tears when she's overtired. She is now so long (about 62cm) that when she's in her baby bath she can rest her head at one end and touch the other end with her feet. She can lie there without us having to hold onto her and it seems to really relax her. We follow this up with a massage and a feed and most nights she's asleep or dozing before she even gets to her cot. Other nights she talks or whinges herself to sleep for a while and then we have the odd night where she's really hard work and needs jiggling, suckling and lots of patience before she'll drop off.

Ha! I leave my computer for a few hours and suddenly that last paragraph doesn't ring quite so true anymore. Phoebe had her jabs on Tuesday. That night we went out for curry with my colleagues as Linda was visiting from U.S. and consequently Pheebs had a late night (although she did nap for about an hour whilst we were eating - she's such a considerate baby). Since then she seems to want to fall asleep at the breast in the evenings, only it takes her a while. I have a new rule: three sucks without a swallow and she gets pulled off. Do that three times and tea-time is over. She doesn't seem to like this rule much. On Wednesday night I gave her my finger to suck, which she did and when she was almost asleep I took this away from her too. She happily sucked her tongue until she fell asleep. I smugly put her in her cot thinking the following night she could suck her tongue and fall asleep after I put her in her cot. Only she didn't fall for the finger trick that night, nor tonight. She just cried and tried to find my boobie. It took me almost an hour to get her to bed both nights.

We have now elevated one end of her mattress in case she has reflux. I did this a few weeks ago and it seemed to work but I've no idea whether that was what worked tonight as I tried lots of other things too: "divine drops" to stop her screaming (a "baby yoga" move which consists of me squatting down really quickly to give her the feeling that she's falling; for some reason babies love this and even when she's really upset she can't help but smile); a dummy, which she spat out but which distracted her from her whinging; the jiggle, which consists of me walking around the bedroom in a jiggly manner whilst cuddling her; and the chest pat. Something worked and I don't really care which it was.

She was frantically sucking on her hands whilst winding down tonight and when I put my finger in her mouth she bit down quite hard. With that and the bottom lip sucking I wonder if she has teeth that are bothering her. Perhaps that, rather than her injections, is what is upsetting her.

She was fine after her jabs (other than wanting to suckle all night) but has a hard bruise on her left leg below the point where the needle went in. In Australia the poor wee things get so many vaccinations. Firstly, they get an oral dose of a vaccination against Rotavirus, which causes nasty gastroenteritis. Then, they simultaneously get two jabs, one in each thigh. One includes DPT (diptheria-pertussis (i.e. whooping cough)-tetanus) plus Polio, Hepatitus B and HiB (Haemophilus influenza type b), a throat infection that can lead to meningitis. That's six vaccinations in one injection! In the other leg they get a vaccination against Pneumococcal, which can cause all sorts of nasties, including meningitis and pneumonia. They get these when they're two, four and six months old.

Phoebe still sometimes wakes up in the night. She usually wakes when I go to bed or around midnight and then again at about 5.30am but this varies. Last night she went to bed around 7.30 then woke at 10.30pm when I went to bed and again at 3.30am and then 6.30am when we all got up. I'm not at all used to all this night-time activity so I'm a bit tired and I'm off to bed in a minute. I've given up trying to make her nap in the middle of the day. I just let her sleep when she's tired and hope that it fits in with what I'm doing. She seems so much happier when we're out and about but she doesn't feed or sleep particularly well in public these days. If I can reduce her stimulation by placing her in the pram and walking around with the insect cover over her then she can get a good sleep but she'll generally feed for long enough to stop feeling hungry and then find something to distract her again. I think this is partly why she's waking up at night. Even if we're home in the morning she's already had two really good feeds at night or early in the morning so she isn't that hungry later on.

Phoebe's rainforest play gym arrived and she loves it. We hang all sorts of other toys from it too and change these around so she doesn't get bored. In the mornings she quite likes to watch the lights and listen to the music and when she gets tired she just chills out on it. But in the afternoon she can't bear the lights and music and we often do more physical games on the floor or a cushion, such as "Wash the dishes", a Gymbaroo game which involves Phoebe being turned upside down, the Sitty-Uppy and Standy-Uppy games (which she now does at Gymbaroo too), tummy time, which she's now excellent at and uses the opportunity to do some commando crawling, which I sometimes assist with by holding her feet so she can push away from my hands (another exercise we learned at Gymbaroo) and lying on her back and rolling.

Another exciting new arrival is our passports. Yes, Phoebe and I now have Australian passports and our trip is only 4 weeks away. Phoebe will be trying solids soon too, perhaps when we're away or maybe just before we go so that Toby can be involved. I haven't got any of the stuff yet though and I'm trying to decide what I absolutely need to get beforehand and what I can make do with until we get back.

Right then... I'm off to see if I can sneak into bed without waking the Hungry Hippo.