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!

9 Months Old

Lily is officially 9 months old! Wow!! Time flies! There are a few things to update on, since the last post.

She’s crawling a WHOLE lot faster, and she’s learning how to walk. Yes, walk. What the heck. She’s only 9 months old! She’s also been able to pull herself up to standing using furniture, items, toys, etc. It’s really neat, though a little dangerous because she’s so wobbly. She’s very independent, not wanting to hold onto Mommy’s or Daddy’s hands. She wants to do it all herself. She stood a couple of times by herself for a few seconds already, so she’s getting really close.

With feeding issues, I’ve been relaxing a bit (okay well, a lot actually) and just letting her take the flow and me going with it. She was protesting at every meal because I was giving her lumps and trying to get her to pick up her food. Obviously she wasn’t ready, as my friends have told me. So I let go of the “picking up food” bit, and just went back to feeding her with puree’d baby food. I’m still making all of her food, so that was easy enough. We’ve been making it thicker in consistency, and she’s been adjusting okay to that. She didn’t like it at first, but little by little doesn’t seem to make it too bad for her. She’s getting used to it, and is now starting to eat all her food in her bowl again. For about a week she was pissed off and anxious at mealtimes, so she wasn’t wanting to be in her high chair. Poor baby.

I also got her her own spoon to practice feeding herself (since she doesn’t like getting her precious hands dirty.. hehe). I found one that you can make bend, so that the baby can hold it to her mouth better. She loves it! I put some food on the spoon, and then let her play with it, and she’s gotten the hint that she can put the spoon into her mouth and feed herself! So cool!

Anyway, today she tried yogurt (with pears, apples, and avocado) for the first time, and after making this horrified, soured expression, she asked for more by opening her mouth. Ha! She’s not allergic (thank goodness), so I gave her yogurt for breakfast and lunch. She’s getting used to the taste. She even gave me a smile!

Here she is feeding herself some yogurt.

Today, she also had some cheerios for the first time. I put about a handful in one of her bigger bowls, and then I just sat with her in front of her “Your Baby Can Read” DVD. We cuddled there, and I was snacking on the cheerios. I didn’t even ask her if she wanted some. Naturally, of course, she figured that since it was “Mommy’s snack,” she wants some too! So she naturally grabbed some, and started practicing her grip. She watched me put them in my mouth and chew, and then she tried to do the same herself! I was being all nonchalant about it, pretending it wasn’t a big deal (I didn’t want to discourage her by encouraging too much, as she had figured that out when I tried having her pick up some of her slimier foods before!). Since it was low-pressure, she picked it up beautifully. After trying a LOT, she managed to actually put one in her mouth, and started chewing/gumming until it melted. Then she grabbed for another. SCORE!!

It was a messy lesson in cheerio-eating today, but it was fun and it was so awesome seeing her pick food up on her own.

We also got some baby rusks for her to chew on, and she isn’t allergic. Another SCORE! She liked it enough, though wasn’t fond of it once she had nibbled/slobbered on it enough that it got all slimy. She promptly dropped it in my hand and wouldn’t touch it again because it made her hands dirty. I had to get her another clean, unchewed one. Oh boy.

Our Lily is growing SO fast! She’s doing so well with all her advances and milestones. She’s crawling faster now, and she’s playing games while crawling. Here, she’s playing peek-a-boo with me. It was so cute. She was so happy when she “found” me.

AND, today, she started walking/pushing her radio flyer wagon! She hasn’t learned how to use it until today! She was moving forward! Yay!!

The photos from our photo shoot with Kendra King Gable came in, too. Here are some of my favorite shots of Lily.

Lumpy Food and Self Feeding

Well, we’re working on this. A lot. Lily doesn’t like her food lumpy, and is perfectly content on having us feed her. She is a great eater, but over the last week or so, on and off, we’ve been trying to introduce her to picking up her own food and feeding herself, along with making her foods chunkier. We tried pears, in small chunks, thinking this may be good since she LOVES, CRAVES pears. Nope. Didn’t work. She touched it, picked it up, and then promptly dropped it because it was slimy. Would much rather have it spoon fed to her.

Yesterday, we tried giving her a giant chunk of avocado (yes, fully knowing that she wouldn’t be able to bite it off or swallow it), but hopefully to encourage her picking up food and putting it in her mouth. I was hoping she would just pick it up, and suck on it. Nope. Didn’t happen. She loves avocado, but she didn’t like how it felt in her hand — slimy and wet and stuff. She would barely touch it. She liked the bowl instead, and tried eating it. Grr.

To tell you the truth, I’m quite stressed about this. I feel like I set her up for failure by not introducing chunks and lumps and finger foods to her earlier. She’s almost 9 months and she’s still in Stage 1.5. We’re going to keep at it, of course. Over the last few days, she’s vomited all her milk out, along with whatever food she had, after we offered her lumps in her food. She has such a strong gag reflex. It totally freaked us out. And, of course, it freaked her out and further discourages her from trying any more lumps and chunks. *sigh* Last night was a bad vomit session. She threw up so much. Like projectile vomiting. Poor baby.

We haven’t had time to actually go shopping at our local organic store for “finger” dry foods, like crackers and cheese and stuff. She won’t pick up anything wet or slimy at this point, so I’m hoping that she may want to try a bit of toast (since it’s dry and not slimy). I’m also hoping that if I put some food on the edge of a bigger baby spoon, she’ll try to feed herself that way. She’s allergic to arrowroot cookies (she LOVED feeding herself with that), so we have to be careful what kinds of cookies we give her. It’s hard with all her allergies.

I need some words of encouragement, and positive reinforcement that I’m not the worst mother in the world. :P

Trying Chunks

It’s been a crazy, busy work week. Glad it’s the weekend. We finally had an opportunity to feed Lily some chunkier foods. And finger foods. She’s not having the “finger foods” aspect of it, though. She doesn’t know why we’re making her pick up her own food and put it in her mouth. She won’t do it. :P She’ll pick it up, but that’s about as far as it goes! We tried just pears this time. Chunky enough for her to pick up, but soft enough for her to “chew” with her gums. I put some in her mouth, and when she realized it was pears, she loved it! However, there was no convincing her to actually PICK them up herself. (sigh)

In fact, when I asked her to pick up the pears and put them in her mouth, she laughed at me! I got a video! She thought it was the silliest thing I’ve ever said! “PICK them up MYSELF, Mama? What a funny joke!” However, she did end up eating the chunkier pears, but I had to spoon feed them to her. Well, baby steps, I suppose!

My ex coworkers and awesome friends, Jen and Martha, came up to visit us today. We went with Lily for lunch by the beach, and walked around a bit. I managed to get a picture of Jenbug with Lily. She warmed up to them much easier today.

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!