Sleep, Eat, and Read Oh My!

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but there have been a lot of things going on with Miss Lily. Ever since we lowered her bed completely down to the lowest level, she had trouble trying to stand up in her crib — that is, until about 12 days ago. It became hard to get her down for naps and bedtime because she insisted on rolling over and crawling around. Then, I managed to teach her how to fall asleep on her own while she was on her tummy, crawling around. SCORE! It worked so well — until, of course, she learned how to stand up on the crib. Then the new game began, and all my old hard work of bedtime routine and her falling asleep on her own was out the window.

Lately, after our usual bedtime routine (bath, pjs, story time, binky and bunny, lights out), as soon as I turn off the lights, she starts getting really squirmy, like she wanted to play. Her eyes would start closing (as she has successfully associated “lights out” with “sleepy time” but her body wanted to keep on going. As soon as I put her in her crib, she would roll over immediately and start standing up. First couple of nights, she just wanted an audience. She wanted to practice getting up, and then getting down safely, but she wanted to do it while one of us was in the room. She wanted one of us to watch her to make sure she was being safe and that we were there if she needed help. Literally.

It was cute — until almost 10p rolled around and she was still up, getting up and down and up and down, over and over again, practicing. She’d count her steps in the crib while she was cruising to make sure she wasn’t going to get hurt in case she let go of the rail of her crib. Several times she fell over backwards, flat on her back, but she’d get right up again to start all over.

So then I emailed the author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution to ask her what the heck to do now. She gave me a few suggestions, such as putting her in a sleep sack, and taking her out on a walk, and staying in the room with her and rub her back and legs and stuff to encourage to her stay down and fall asleep. Did all of that. Didn’t work. She was sweating in her sleep sack, and got too hot and uncomfortable. The walk worked once, but didn’t work again after that. Rubbing her back and her legs and arms and stroking her hair worked once, but didn’t after that because she was just glad to have me in there as her audience. As soon as I stopped rubbing her back, she’d get into crawling and start climbing up the side of her crib to standing again.

After about a week of this, I was going crazy. When she usually would be down between 7:45p and 8p, she was going down any time around 9 and 9:30 and 10. Dave doesn’t approve of any method that allows her to even whimper, let alone cry, so it’s been tough. Right now, we’re trying some of Dave’s methods (which, admittedly, I don’t agree with completely but they do have some excellent nurturing points) to see if it would help her fall asleep happier and easier and quicker, like it did before. The past two days we’ve been doing it his way. First night wasn’t too bad. He rocked her out in the living room after my bedtime routine with her until she was drowsy, and then he put her down in her crib. She woke up a few times when he put her down though, insisting to be picked up and rocked again. The second night was longer and harder. She kept insisting that she not only falls asleep in his arms, but that she must STAY asleep in his arms too. Every time he put her down, she’d shoot her eyes wide open and the whole process would start again. Finally, he just left her in there, completely exhausted, and I went in to check on her. She was so tired and crawling around in her bed that she ended up putting herself to sleep. That took about 1.5 hours. Tonight, we tried an earlier bedtime routine (start at 6:30 instead of 7), just to see if we needed that extra time to get her to sleep. Dave did the whoolleee routine with her, from start to finish (outside of the bath). She was down by 7p. A little fussy, but fast asleep by 7. That’s a good change! It also has to do with the fact that she didn’t get a late afternoon nap, and only had the one 2-hour morning nap. She was exhausted!

Since starting Dave’s methods, she’s also been waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes a few times a night, insisting to be cuddled back to sleep. This may be due to something else and not due to Dave’s method, though. She did that sometimes with me too. She was usually satisfied when I just went in there to give her her binky if she woke up in the middle of the night, but now that she’s been cuddled and rocked to sleep for a few nights straight, she thinks she deserves this during the middle of the night too. Now, I wouldn’t mind, except that sometimes, it would take her a VERY long time to get back to sleep, and if I put her down in her crib, WITH binky and music on, she’d start whining and yelping really loud, so I had to pick her back up again (because according to his plan, which we are both consistently doing together, we don’t allow for her crying at all, not even whimpering). This has gotten me very cranky and tired over the last few days.

We may need to try my method eventually, if this proves to be harder than it should. She used to be able to put herself to sleep, and now she presents us with new challenges because she’s more mobile. But I believe she should be able to be re-taught on how to put herself to sleep, happy and all. Dave believes that this will come in time and we don’t need to rush things. She hasn’t been getting enough sleep at night the past few nights. Hopefully this will change. Last night, she only had 8 hours of sleep!! Poor baby. We shall see what happens tonight. If Dave’s method works, we’ll stick with it. I’m all for no-cry sleep solutions!

Here’s an example of what she’s been up to. This little girl is all about perfecting her challenges. She’s awesome. Very determined, motivated little one.

As for feeding, we’ve been introducing more finger foods into her diet. She’s getting used to being fed lumpier, chunkier foods, but she’s not really getting the idea that she can actually feed HERSELF. She plays with food with her hands, but puts inedible objects into her mouth. This girl is backwards sometimes! Heh. Last weekend, I gave her some tofu chunks glazed with cheerio crumbs. She LOVED it. But, she didn’t feed any to herself. She put it all over her face and hands instead, and I ended up just picking some up with my fingers and putting them in her mouth. She finished a whole bunch! But didn’t feed one morsel to herself. Heh. Oh well, baby steps I suppose!

She loves eating carrot sticks. Sometimes she is able to bite chunks off, but doesn’t know what to do with them in her mouth, so she spits them back out. I steam them so that they’re soft enough for her to gnaw on. She loves the taste of the carrots, but doesn’t know how to “chew” them with her gums.

Today, she tried oranges for the first time! She looooooved them. I had cut them into little itty bitty chunks so that she can learn to chew, and she just looooooved it. However, she still doesn’t know how to “chew” properly and ends up trying to swallow too-big pieces all at once. Sometimes, she’d make herself throw up in order to prevent choking. We hate when that happens. So we just have to go slower with this little one. I think, for what it’s worth, it will get easier when she has some front teeth, even though she wouldn’t be using them to “chew”… She seems to want to inspect new foods with her front gums before allow it to enter the rest of her mouth, so I think she’d try to actually chew on finger foods with her front teeth when she gets some.

So, in order to discourage fake-choking and therefore vomiting, we’re taking the lumpy foods veerryyy slloowwwwlllyyyyyy.

In other news, Lily is also standing on her own. For a few seconds at a time, but each time a fraction of a second longer. Heh. She also knows how to call “Mama” and “Dad dad” and knows how to call “Nana” when her Nana Sylv comes by. She also knows how to drink from a sippy cup. Granted, the ones we’ve had for her have been too hard for her to hold on herself and tip over, so I got her a smaller one yesterday and she took to it like a charm! She drinks water out of there easy peasy now! Our Lily also knows how to “smile” for the camera, and gives kisses to Mommy on command. Most of the time her “kisses” just means she’s gonna tilt her head towards my face, but sometimes I get the lovely, awesome open-mouth kisses. Hehe. She willingly gives her toy lamb an open-mouthed kiss whenever I ask her to though. I’m trying to get these on video but it’s hard because she’s so mobile!

This is her smiling for the camera:

Another thing I’m trying to get on video is her READING! Yes, you heard right, our Lily Bean can barely talk, but she knows how to read. Well, at this stage, it’s more like memorization of familiar words. We’ve been having her watch the “Your Baby Can Read” DVDs at least twice a day, and we’re onto the 4th DVD now. We’ve also been playing word flash cards with her several times a day. The same words over and over again, and introducing a new set of words every month. We’re now teaching her 30 words. She’s learned to recognize the first 10 that she started with. These include the words clap, hi, wave, elephant, nose, mouth, eyes, and a couple others I don’t remember. She knows how to “read” them, or rather, memorize their shapes and the meanings and sounds to them. We tested it about a week ago, out of sheer fluke, and asked her to pick out the correct word out of two cards, and she did it consistently 7 times in a row. I’ve tried to get a video of her doing this, but each time she gets bored after a couple of word games because she’d rather be crawling or cruising or playing! So far, I’ve only been able to get a photo!

Here, she’s picking out the word “nose” when I asked her to pick out the card with the word “nose” on it.

And now, for some more randomly most awesome cute photos.

Playing with her cousin Kennedy, who is 3 months and 1 day younger than she is!

We’ve been taking Lily outside more, as the weather gets nicer and nicer. Hopefully this trend will continue!

Waving and Standing

We’ve been trying to perfect her waving for a few months now. “Can you wave?” “Wave to Mommy!” “Wave to Nana!” “Wave to Daddy!” She’s been practicing her wave. Yesterday, she perfected it pretty dead on. It was so cute. She decided to wave to her daddy and then to me during dinner time. That stinker. That distracted us from feeding her for a bit (I think that was her intention).

And then she got into a giggling fit, WHILE having the hiccups. Every time I said “HI!” she laughed.

Today, for her afternoon nap, we tried putting her down and what happens? Four times out of four, she rolled over onto her belly, got into crawling position, and then stood herself up in the crib. This is AFTER we had put her down about 85% asleep in the first place. That stinker. So this was the sight I walked into after the 4th time:

I eventually had to take her to our bedroom to snuggle with her to get her to sleep (she was sooo cranky and sleepy) while her daddy Dave lowered her mattress (we didn’t get around to it over the weekend). That stinker is growing so fast, it’s unbelievable! Here she is sleeping in our bed:

Big 8.5-Month Milestones

Wow, the milestones are coming in strong and fast! Yesterday was a big one for “firsts.”

First time pulling herself up using something (the crib!). We were all in her room so we can move around some furniture and organize some of her stuff. So we put her in the crib to have her out of the way yet still near us. We turned around, and what do we see? She was trying to pull herself up from the side of the crib! I ran to get my camera, and we caught the whole thing on tape. This part was when she was actually successful for the very first time.

She was so proud of herself. She kept doing it over and over again. She hasn’t figured out that she can roll from her back to her front, and then try to get up, so we’re still safe (at least for the next couple of days!) from her waking up and then pulling herself up. She can pull herself up only from a sitting position and a crawling position. She keeps trying to do sit-ups when she’s on her back. She forgot she can roll over and start the whole thing that way! We’re going to lower her bed today. Heh.

First time yesterday trying chunkier solids on her own. It was an unsuccessful attempt. I think we’ve kept her so clean during meals that now she doesn’t want to get her hands dirty. She was confused as to why there were sticky things on her tray, and when she tried grabbing at them, she was a little disgusted that they stuck to her fingers. She would much rather eat her spoon. I think I sort of set her up for failure though, as I gave her something she’s never tried before (butternut squash), AND she had just woken up from a nap so she was all groggy, AND this was her first chunky finger foods experiment. When we gave her the spoon, though, she was all over it. She would much rather eat the spoon. Heh.

She was shuttering, going, “Eeww… this stuff is STICKY!! Eeww!!” Heh. What a princess.

BUT, she gave me a darling smile when I asked her to smile for the camera. Hehee. (Seen below.)

Then later on that day (still yesterday), we set up her play pen, thinking that we were probably going to need it now since she’s crawling and army crawling so fast. She won’t keep still! We put her in it, and took some pictures.

And then we promptly folded it up and put it back in its box. That puppy dog, caged look was too much for us. We didn’t have the heart to leave her in there. She looked up at us so sadly, wondering, “Why am I in a cage now that I can move?” So yeah, we’re not using it for at least another month. At least until she can fully pull herself up to standing so she doesn’t feel so “stuck” in there lying and sitting all by herself. Poor baby.

Yesterday was also her first time wearing jeans. I don’t know why I never put her in jeans before, but yesterday was the first! She looked so cute in it!

She’s been having more binky emergencies throughout the night. The last two nights, she had about 3 throughout. Granted, she just needed her binky back and then she put herself to sleep, but still. I wonder what’s going on. We do the same things every night for her routine before bed, so I have no idea what’s up. She’s such a sensitive little girl (physically, I mean), that if one little thing is “off,” she can’t sleep through the night. Poor baby.

But yes, yesterday was a big day for many happenings!

The Crawling Monkey

Oh our little baby went from army crawling to full on crawling in a matter of days. She’s perfected the army crawling, and is starting to do the real crawling now. She switches from one to the other very smoothly. She can go from sitting to crawling better now, though she is still smoothing out that transition. She’s starting to pull herself up off of things. She’s a crawling, moving maniac, and it’s so exciting to watch!!

And, to top it off, this is one happy baby. She’s sleeping through the night (for the most part, unless something is up), and she eats well. We’re going to introduce chunkier foods to her soon. We’ve been making it less “smooth” but not as chunky as we probably should. We have to use all of the baby food I’ve been puree’ing first though. She loves it all — bananas, apples, zucchini, beans, peas, prunes, etc. We’re going to be introducing sweet potatoes into her diet tomorrow, and next week, we’ll add butternut squash to the list! Woohoo!

This picture makes my heart burst into lovey dovey sprinkles. I love that smile. I live for it. It gets me through the day, too.

Going Back to Work

While I technically went back to work towards the end of October, when Lily was around 4 months old, last week was my first week of “full time” work. I started my new, full-time position in Canada, and I am finding that I am absolutely loving it. I have a real passion for being in social services, and I love being part of the solution in my community. What’s more is that I finally feel, after all these years since moving up here, that I am whole-heartedly part of my community. I not only live here, but I also work here. Even though working in Bellingham had its good points, sometimes I felt like I was disconnected from it because I didn’t live there. Working and living in the same city has that advantage — you feel connected, you feel useful, you feel like you’re contributing to your own community in a positive, uplifting way. It feels good.

My first full day of work was on the 25th. Lily did not adjust very well for the first couple of days. She refused to go down for her naps for Dave, and she was practically cranky all day long. Dave had a very rough few first days when I went to work. When she saw me come home in the evenings, she was clingy and didn’t let me go. She was happy and bubbly again, though. It nearly broke my heart, and I almost said, “Screw it all! I’m done with work! I wanna stay home!” But, what has to be done has to be done. Now, two weeks into the new job, Lily is doing a lot better. She has her daytime schedule back on track, and she’s taking naps and eating well again, for her Daddy. She still gets so excited when she sees me come through the door, and I love getting that warm welcome when I’m done with work. It makes me have something to look forward to after a long, hard day of work.

Her sleep time was also screwy when I started working. She stopped sleeping through the night. It could’ve been a number of things, and undoubtedly I believe it was a whole bunch of things compounded. First, she was teething (still no breakthroughs though!), and then she had another growth spurt (she kept twitching and squirming, like her skin was too small for her bones or something), and then she had a blister on the side of her heel (we didn’t discover that until days later). It made sense that she didn’t sleep through the night. It happened for about 3 or 4 nights, and I was slowly going crazy. One night, she woke up every hour, screaming and screaming. I had to be with her and she wouldn’t let me put her down on her back. We discovered the connection between her eating green beans for three days straight, being gassy, and not being able to sleep. I had to hold her in an upright position, and she kept farting throughout the night. Poor baby. I eventually took her to bed with us, and she slept in our bed on her tummy. We didn’t get much sleep though, since we were both afraid we were going to roll over on top of her.

It appears that when she isn’t sleeping through the night, there’s always a concrete reason. Once the reason is found, she sleeps through the night again. So, when I found she had a blister (it had popped by the time I saw it), and I took care of it and bandaged it up and put some cream on it, she slept through the night immediately that same night. When we discovered it may have been the beans that made her gassy and therefore too uncomfortable to sleep, we stopped giving it to her and she slept through the night that very same night. When she was teething, I gave her some Hyland’s tablets and she slept through the night.

She’s like clockwork. When she sleeps through the night, she’d sleep 10 to 11 hours straight. It’s very rarely that she gets a binky emergency when everything is okay. When it’s not, the whole night is screwed up and she’ll wake up numerous times throughout. It sucks though, because it usually takes us a couple of days to figure out what’s wrong, and in the meantime Mommy and Daddy are walking zombies. Now that I’m working full time again, Dave is getting up with her at night for her “binky emergencies” (if there were any) and for her wake ups. But, since we discovered what the issues were, she’s been sleeping through the night, and I almost feel resentful that he doesn’t have to get up with her! Ha! It’s like the analogy of me trying to open this jar, and working and working and working at it, loosening it up, and by the time I ask him to open it for me, it’s a piece of cake because I had already loosened it up. :P Go figure.

This is what we want every night for 10 to 11 hours straight. I know, it’s a fantasy for most parents with babies and infants and even toddlers.

However, sometimes, this is what we get instead:

A waking baby is awesome during the day. But baby, during the night it’s no time to play!

My baby sister left yesterday. Lily’s Auntie Sophie had a lot of time to spend with her this time around, since I had to work a lot while she was here. So, the two of them got to know each other pretty well, and Lily adores her Auntie Sophie!