Saturday, March 7, 2009

Haley at Nine Months

Warning: this post is basically an entry in Haley's baby book (this may be the closest we get to filling one for her). Therefore, to the general public, the content may be considered tedious.

Okay, let's see. . . last time I gave full specs on Haley was when she was six months. Not sure I can list all the new things she is doing since then, but I'll try, for posterity (and grandmas!). This may be the only "baby book" Haley has, so bear with me as I share the details.

Around six months, Haley greatly scaled back on something I had all-but forgotten that she had done to such a large extent, until I was reminded by a friend's post (sorry you're on that end of it, Ann!). I don't know when the complete cessation happened, but I am grateful when I look back and realize that she hardly ever spits up now (or, more accurately, spills up--it rarely had time to turn to true spit-up--pretty much just milk flowed out as soon as a feeding was over--or before). Now at nine months, it is very rare for her to spit up at all, which is really quite a difference when I think back to how much more work she was back then because of it. How quickly I adjust to an easier situation without stopping to be thankful that she is no longer a spewing machine. (Though I have to admit, she's still a drooler--see above photo. Not too bad nowadays--about what I see other babies drool when they're teething. But the drool has greatly tapered off as well. It's a constant drip, instead of an incessant flow now.)

In January, at almost 8 months, Haley had a rash of new developments: she cut two new teeth (making a total of four), began eating solid foods regularly, crawling, sitting without support and . . .(drum roll, please). . . throwing tantrums. I don't mean little sounds and faces to convey she's not happy. I mean chin-to-chest (or sometimes head-thrown-back), back-arching, arm-flailing (in the direction of my face) body-shaking (or stiff-body), howling and screaming tantrums. My other two did not do anything like this at that age. In fact, I have never seen a baby of not even eight months throw a tantrum like Haley could/can. I have no tantrum video to show you, but here's one of Haley sitting--err--getting around and keeping busy. She doesn't like to sit still much.

So, while we're on the subject of tantrums, I'm remembering a few opportunities for training we have with Haley nowadays. Haley clearly understands the word "no," (as evidenced by a pause, a thoughtful moment, followed by, "it's worth it" complete disregard) so we are off into a new phase with her. We are working on training her not to touch cords or the space heater in our bathroom. We're also teaching her not to grab my glasses or jewelry. (No, I don't usually wear jewelry, but I plan to wear it often nowadays, until we get Haley used to not touching it; it's all about functionality, and jewelry sometimes has a very practical function in motherhood, I've found!) As you'll see below, we also need some traning on feeding issues (yelling/demanding food, spitting, playing with food in her mouth, taking off her bib, hitting, biting and overall abusing me while nursing), as well as the stairs. Goodbye, infancy. Hello, training phase. I'm tired just thinking of it!

For a few weeks, Haley often "helped" me feed her by pushing food into her mouth immediately after I spooned it in. This resulted in food pretty much everywhere. Some days, she had it so widely spread, you'd think she was feeding herself. We've been working on this, and she is getting better about leaving the food alone. Besides breastfeeding 5-6 times a day, she currently eats the equivalent of 2-3 jars of baby food per day. A far cry from where Claire was at around the same age. (At eight months, I switched her completely to table food because she was eating 8 jars a day and I just couldn't bear to buy that much baby food.) About 1/3 of the solids Haley eats right now are table food. Unlike a couple months ago, she's now a big fan of solids, and will often smack her lips in anticipation. So cute.

Here's a new thing for us: stairs and crawling babies. As she has become interested in pulling up on anything and everything, the stairs have become a place Haley loves to hang out. We're not big into baby-proofing our house. I don't see us using a gate much, if at all, but am not sure how to go about training Haley to not climb the stairs, which I imagine is only a short time away.

Unchartered waters. Suggestions, please!

She's so proud of herself! Sandy moved the rug there. Hard tile is not the place to practice pulling up to wobbly feet, especially in footed pjs.
Haley can stand with support for 10-15 minutes before getting tired and whining about it. She's not into cruising yet.

When Sandy was here, to her Lita's delight, Haley waved for the first time. It was totally out of the blue, and since then, she pretty much hasn't stopped waving. She does it constantly now, through meal time, in her car seat or while being held. I don't think she is always aware she is doing it. Sorry about the video being sideways. Not sure if/how I can make it upright.

Now that she's waving, we are also introducing Haley to a *few* signs, mostly having to do with manners ("Please," "Thank you," "more," "eat"). It seems as though she may be catching on, but since Ruby and Claire didn't start using signs until around a year, we don't have any high hopes for the next few months. Just getting her used to the idea.

In conclusion, I'll leave you with Haley's 9 month well-check stats: 17 pounds, 3 ounces and 28 3/4 inches long. Will we make it past 20 pounds at a year in order to turn her car seat around? I'm thinking that isn't likely.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Essential Quality

Today I'm pondering the importance of one thing as a mother of 3 short people: Flexibility. Not in the physical sense, (though that helps too:) but in the sense that if I have hopes and plans, be it for the day, week or my life, I need to hold them loosely, or I may crack (or explode).

For the past few nights, Haley has decided to sleep in two big chunks during the night, waking around 2 or 3ish for a feeding, then sleeping till 7:30 or 8. How has it been for the last four months or more? Going to bed around 7 p.m., waking for a night feeding around 11 or 12 and again around 4 or 5. On especially rough nights, she would wake another time in there as well. (Between Haley, my other two and my husband, I have been getting two or three chunks of 1-3 hours of sleep since December.) So, it is no surprise that when I have had two large (4-5 hours is large to me right now!) chunks of sleep without interruption, I find I have much more energy for the day!

I also find that having more sleep greatly improves my outlook on EVERYTHING: the snapping and barking at my children gets severely minimised, and my patience level is much (much, much!) higher. Who would have thought?

So, after a few nights of this, and the days going extremely well, I decided yesterday that a loose schedule would be good to map out: pack Casey's lunch and see him off to work, feed the girls breakfast, read the Bible and review verses, throw a load of laundry in, let the girls watch Little Einsteins, put Claire and Haley down for a morning nap, do some school with Ruby, playtime outside, lunch, naps and dinner prep. It worked really well yesterday, which is why I bothered to write it down.

You know what's coming. That schedule just wasn't going to happen today. Perhaps it was that I went to bed a few hours later than my new bedtime, perhaps it was that Haley woke twice, perhaps it is that I am sore and slow-moving from the salsa aerobics class I tried for the first time last night (boy, am I out of shape!). Perhaps it is that my plans for today included wrestling a turkey nearly the size of my two-year-old into the oven, then de-boning it and making broth/soup while cooking a few pounds of chicken breasts; baking two kinds of bread, doing that last load of laundry for the week and putting away all the other piles of laundry from earlier this week that are scattered in at least 4 different rooms.

It would just so happen that Haley would be needy and whiny today, and both H & C would boycott their morning naps. Put those two simple changes together, and what may have worked into yesterday's schedule was just not going to happen today.

So, I sit here on the love seat, amidst several piles of laundry yet to be put away, the other load sitting in the dryer (don't know if I'll get to it at all), one kind of bread in the oven, the turkey and chicken in the refrigerator waiting for me to de-bone and cube tomorrow. If I were to guess based on my current energy level, we will not be having soup--or anything too complicated--for dinner tonight. Maybe some chicken breasts and pumpkin bread! Hmmm. Maybe not. I'll figure something out.

As much as half of today's plans were thwarted, and as much as the house is not in the shape I'd like it to be in for Casey's long weekend, this is the way the day has gone, and that is okay.

Thankfully, I have an understanding husband (as long as he's not stepping on Legos in his bare feet!) who is growing in flexibility as well, and will appreciate the things I did accomplish.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Input Wanted

For anyone who is so inclined, please read my latest post in my birth blog and give me some good suggestions on things that you found helpful (or not!) in labor. You have the power to make me a better woman servant (i.e. doula). No suggestion is too small (but go easy, Deb ;).