Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Catching Up- 9 Months

Well, the last time I did a blogpost about N.G. she was five months old.  Please don't go back in the blog archives and see how often I did an update on Frazier during his first year.  About a week and a half ago, Norma Grace was 9 months old!! At her 9 month appointment she weighed 18 lbs, 9.5oz and was 28 inches tall.  Right after we got back from our Mexico trip she started crawling.  The first few days she dragged herself around and got frustrated after just a few paces, but within a week she was really moving and now roams ALL about the house.  She is very much enjoying her new found freedom and has been pulling up on the furniture,a stunt about which she gets quite excited.  She pulls herself to standing and then looks around expecting praise and applause.  She's very much accustomed to praise and applause...but then again she just does so much worth praising and applauding. :)
 For much of her early life she was quite serious.  She smiled at Frazier and Gatsby regularly, but the rest of the world had to go to great lengths to amuse her.  I describe her as intense.  She really studies people and objects.  This girl will stare. you. down.  She'll focus on one activity for a long period of time (like one day she spent 15 minutes just playing with a flattened mini-raisin box and a little empty drawer in our end table).  She likes putting things in something else- cookies in a jar, toys in a basket, blocks in Frazier's boots.  When she is happy she is equally intense- she has a full-body laugh and when she's happy she gets her whole body into the expression of it.  And she laughs more frequently now.  She's lightened up quite a bit. :)

 Likewise, anger and frustration manifest equally as physically.  She kicks her feet and stiffens her whole body and screams.  And screeches and sometimes even cries so hard it gets silent for second.  Fortunately, this doesn't happen often.  She's generally a very pleasant baby.
 Though this picture is a grumpy bath picture she does LOVE bathtime.  You put her in the water and she really gets after it.  She splashes like crazy and cruises from one end of the bathtub to the other!

 Fond is not strong enough a word to describe how she feels about Frazier and she is very happy to have him around always.  She'd prefer it that way, actually, and I think he feels the same way.
 This is the one-eyebrow face.  I love it.

 She's eaten a variety of fruits and veggies, and hasn't disliked any lately, but we've had some issue with grains so we're forgoing them for now with the exception of some rice puffs/crackers.  She prefers to self feed instead of eating off a spoon so I've been freezing her food in popsicle form and this has gone over quite well.  She's been showing symptoms of teething off and on for weeks, but I've yet to see a single tooth.  I'm going to miss that sweet toothless grin when they do finally come in!

She likes to "read" and will just sit turning the pages and looking at pictures in her board books.  

She is just so incredibly charming and entertaining and we marvel at her cleverness and how downright beautiful she is and she is fabulous in myriad ways, but N.G. has been, from the get-go, an exceptionally miserable sleeper.  

About the sleep issue, lest I forget one day:

The first week or so of her life she slept all day and was up all night.  And then two weeks or so into it we realized she was an incredibly light sleeper.  In nine months she has slept a 7 hour stretch once, 6-hour stretches three times.  Her average now is four hours, but there was a time...a very long and groggy time, during which she hardly slept at all.  Had I not lived it myself, I wouldn't believe it.  I would be certain that something could have been done, but we tried it all.  I'd rock her to sleep, nurse her to sleep, put her to bed asleep, put her to bed awake, let her sleep with me, sleep propped up on the sofa with her in my arms, waltz around the room singing her to sleep.  We tried white noise, CDs, nature sounds, classical music, fans, heaters, different combinations of lights and projectors, and lullaby makers.  Silence.  The Twilight Ladybug, Twinkle Twinkle Little Violet.  I tried getting her to attach to a paci, a blanket, a lovey.  We tried to let her cry it out.  We snuck around like ninja assasins leaping from rug to rug avoiding the wood floors, hugging the walls, only walking in socks; we oiled the door hinges so they wouldn't squeak, we brushed our teeth in the kitchen sink, didn't flush the toilets, watched TV with subtitles only.  The sound of the door knob, the click of the monitor being switched on, the AC kicking on at our neighbor's would wake her...and sometimes once she was up she'd be up for HOURS.  I may even have scolded Josh early one morning for putting on his belt in the bedroom when she was asleep in our bed.  Even if we were successful in keeping things completely quiet she'd still wake up every three hours and then I had to start over trying to get her back to sleep to stay...for another three hours.  Every few weeks my midnight Google search changed slightly, "My seven week old won't sleep""Three month old up every two hours" "My 4 month old doesn't sleep through the night" "My 6 month old doesn't sleep and never has..." I finally stumbled on this article about high needs babies and their sleep patterns. Pretty much her to a "T", but not terribly helpful except to know that I wasn't alone, I suppose.  Frazier doesn't take a nap during the day anymore, therefore N.G. didn't sleep at night and Frazier didn't sleep during the day so I slept...very little.  I got so little sleep I'd be dizzy in the afternoons sometimes.  I had headaches often and some days I was so sleepy we didn't leave the house because I didn't trust myself to drive.  I'd sit in her room rocking her and nursing her all hours of the night, praying that she'd sleep.  I would comfort myself by thinking of all the reasons I was grateful...that she was healthy and this was the worse thing I had to complain about.  I was grateful that I, too, was healthy and able to go on little sleep and that Frazier was so understanding and Josh so sympathetic and helpful.  A woman in my BSF group had a baby the day after N.G. was born.  Her name was Emma and she spent her whole little life in the NICU.  She passed away in February and I thought about her every night as I struggled with my sleepless baby.  (Please continue to remember them in your prayers.) I prayed for her all those long nights and my plight paled in comparison. It reminded me of how glad I really was to get up with Norma Grace.  But sometimes I cried.  Sleep deprivation wears on a person.  Around that 3-4am hour when I was sitting up with her having gotten precious little sleep with little hope of getting more...that was my darkest hour.  I'd tell myself that it wouldn't last forever.  And it hasn't.  She still gets up on average twice a night, but now she goes back to sleep after about 15 minutes of rocking and nursing and she stays that way...for at least 4 more hours.  I can live with that.  The crazy thing is that no matter how often I saw her all night long, I was still happy to spend the day with her. Because however much trouble she might be...she's worth it.

I love watching her personality emerge...and I can't wait to see who she becomes.
Even though she's sleeping better (10-11 hours at night broken down into three segments) plus a nap in the afternoons and catnaps in the car here and there...she's developed a habit of falling asleep in her high chair.  I've got quite a collection of pictures of her totally sacked out in it!  I don't know what it is about that chair!
 For the record, this is the only time she fell asleep in the shopping cart.*

N.G., my darling.
You are something.  And we adore you. I treasure every second with you because I know how soon you will be almost 4.  I hold you and breathe you in and I try to commit to memory how you smell, the feeling of your familiar weight in my arms, your soft fuzzy little head, your tiny fingers "honking" my nose.  When I nurse you now sometimes you put your tiny foot up close to my face so I'll nibble at it.  I pretend not to notice as you stick your leg up in the air and spread your little toes and wiggle them until I surprise you and grab your foot and kiss it.  Then you stop nursing to smile and giggle for a second.  It's just a little game we play...and I hope I never forget it because it's such a sweet little thing like a thousand others that aren't going to last.  We'll have new things, though.  Always.  And I'll love them, too.
As ever,

Sunday, June 9, 2013