Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Letters to Lydia: Eight Months

Dear Lydia, 

At 8 months you are approximately 18 1/2 pounds and 26 3/4 inches (I think the nurse-in-training measured your length wrong, but we'll go with it). You hair is coming in nicely, you are eating everything in sight, and you make sure to let us know when you need more attention (that's a positive way to say you've started the whining phase) :) You are still a jolly jumper and you spent a good part of the month happily clapping your hands to "if you're happy and you know it." You are still content to sit, but you are reaching and trying to inch towards objects around you, so I don't think it will be long before you take off. At the end of the month you really started chatting - "ba ba ba ba" - it's totally adorable. Your brother and sister were so surprised and excited to hear you "talk." When you are excited, every limb of your body starts moving, we love it. You are such a joy. 

You all are my life. 
Love you forever, 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Letters to Lydia: Seven Months

Dear Baby Lydia, 

Please stop growing up. We are so thankful that you are healthy and well and growing, but my heart wants you to stay, just like you are, just a while longer. You are the sweetest. There have been many times this month (well your whole life, really) when your dad and I have been talking after you all are in bed and he says "Lydia is such a sweetheart." You are so sweet, in fact, that I (self-proclaimed sleep trainer) was tempted to crawl into your room one night and pick you up just to have one more cuddle with you. I almost always tear up when I read Love You Forever, but I've always thought it was ridiculous, too. What mother, in her right mind, would chance waking up her peacefully sleeping baby? Not much about that book is realistic. But in that moment, I understood. I resisted, but I understood. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

This month you have been enjoying your new view of the world from a sitting position. You are quite content to sit and play. You've even started doing a little dance while you're at it. You like to spend time in your exersaucer, too, and really enjoy jumping in the jumper - especially when we have one of our "dance parties" in the living room. You dislike being on your tummy or your back now. You managed to roll over several times this month, but only because there was a bottle or some other enticing item within your reach :) You are extremely ticklish, just like me. And you are a lover of food, for sure. It would be hard to list all the foods you've tried, there are so many! Almost all with good results. The ones that come to mind are carrots, zucchini, pancakes, grapes, cucumber, blueberries, banana, millet, apple, green beans, kiwi, and strawberry. Is there anything you won't eat? I can still picture you when you saw your first pancake - you opened your mouth and started flapping your arms - you looked just like a little bird! You love pancakes. One night I gave you zucchini and carrot sticks and you ended up eating the carrots and hoarding all of the zucchini in your high chair, it was really cute. Another night you fussed until I let you try my lentil soup and then you kept fussing for more! The night we had burritos you were begging for something so we threw some rice and beans on your tray, it was hilarious to watch your intent little face go after those beans! We've come to realize there's no sitting Lydi up to the table without giving her some food! You don't look much like your sister right now, but there are moments when you open your mouth with a great, big smile that remind me so much of Zoe when she was your age. I love that. 

I always want to remember the way, at bedtime, you snuggle your head into the crook of my neck and put your arm around the other side, almost like a hug. And as much as I want you to stay just as you are, I know there is so much more in store, God willing. So with that, I do look forward to another month of watching you grow! 


P.s. you really don't smile for my big black lens anymore!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Letters to Lydia: Six Months!

Dear Lydia, 

You are half a year old! You turned six months on January 4th, the same day your Grandpa turned 71. Grandma had a big party to celebrate. :)

Overall the month was pretty uneventful. You had your first real cold and spent almost two weeks with an annoying cough that kept you up at night (and us, too!) Everyone had their turn with the cold. Colby had a fever several times, so we spent a lot of time at home. Just before Christmas, I took you in to the doctor to make sure everything was okay before we left town and the nurse wanted to weigh you. You were a petite 16.4 with a diaper and your clothes on! I was shocked. I was expecting bottle feeding to pack on the pounds. I think I'm surprised, too, because of your birth weight. I suspected I might have a chubby baby on my hands this time around, but you're just following suit - you've got skinny genes (one day you'll thank me for this!) 

For the holiday we went down to Pennsylvania and then D.C. You were a great traveller for the most part and everyone enjoyed getting to meet you for the first time!

At six months you are touching your toes and scrunching your nose. You are quiet and sweet tempered. You still *love* to suck your fingers. You are almost sitting up on your own. And you are eyeing food like a hawk - we tried cantaloupe and rice rusks, both of which you loved. 

Looking forward to what next month brings! But don't go too fast. 

Love you forever, 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Letters to Lydia: Five Months

Dear Lydia, 

How is it possible that you are five months old already? That's almost half a year! Big happenings this month were moving you into your own bedroom and moving your hooligan siblings into a shared bedroom! The transition has been seamless for you and better than expected for brother and sister. And I'm thankful I no longer have to tip-toe around my room during the day while you're napping. You are still loving the moses basket so we just put that in your crib and will keep you in it until you outgrow it...probably next month! 

Since transitioning to the one arm swaddle last month you now have a full-blown addition to finger sucking. It is hilarious and oh, so cute! The first time I found you doing it, you had your middle and ring fingers in your mouth so it looked like you were signing "i love you." But from then on, it's been your pointer and middle fingers of your left hand. As soon as we wrap you up and sit down in the chair, you *immediately* pop those two fingers into your mouth, your eyes roll back, and you're out. Lately, you don't even need to be rocked! Quite a difference from your first month of life. 

Your activity level is really starting to change this month; you enjoy being up and around more. We tried out the bumbo, exersaucer, high chair and the jolly jumper and you seem to like them all. You like playing with your toys a lot, too. You love to chew on Sophie giraffe's feet and pull on all your hanging toys from the play mat. You also love chewing on books and foam shapes from the foam books, just like your sister did as a baby. Interestingly enough, you don't seem to care about rolling over anymore! One day you rolled from your back to front for the first time just as I was walking into the room. I'm glad I got to see it, because you haven't done it since!  

In terms of eating, you are fully weaned - a bottle baby now. As hard as the transition has been, bottle feeding is simple and very routine which, I have to admit, is really nice for a stressed mother of three! 

One last thing -- you love baths. Putting you in the bath is the best way to chill you out - even when your brother and sister are in there with you! It's really sweet. 

Love you forever, my happy, little Lydi. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Letters to Lydia: Four Months

October 4 - November 4
Dear Lydia, 

Happy 4 months, baby girl! To pick up where we left off last month, things are definitely getting better around here. I am still incredibly sad and disappointed about having to wean you, but it is helping me more than you will ever know. This month you were taking three bottles and having three nursing sessions pretty consistently each day. However, you are now down to one sweet feeding in the afternoon when all the house is quiet and asleep except for you and me. I'm thankful I had the wherewithal (though that was questionable at times!) to do this slowly enough to savor it and to give you as much good milk as possible. 

You have officially entered the teething stage as was evident from the amount of drool we saw this month. From now on, any "misbehaving" on your part gets blamed on teeth. Cranky? "She's teething." Short naps? "She's teething." Not sleeping through the night? "She's teething." It is THE go-to answer. Thankfully, the only real symptoms you've had are drool and crankiness. You're still napping quite well (thanks to a few cio lessons) and sleeping through the night like a champ. You still enjoy being swaddled but have graduated from the full-swaddle to the one arm swaddle. If we try putting you down without your right arm tucked in, you almost always wake yourself up with that thing! 

We simply adore watching you grow and change. Lately, you have added a sweet little squeal to your laugh and have become more talkative. You love Brown Bear Brown Bear and your whole body starts shaking with excitement when it's put in front of you. You are definitely still a mama's girl -- some nights when I'm exhausted, instead of rocking you to sleep I will put you in our bed, lie down next to you, and lift my arm up over my head for you to snuggle in underneath. We aren't sure if this knocks you out or if you just love the smell of your momma but, either way, I love it. :)

Can't wait to see what next month brings. 

P.s. Will you have lots of thick hair like your brother? Or be bald until you are two like your sister? We just can't figure it out yet!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Letters to Lydia: Three Months

Dear sweet Lydia, 

This was a hard month, wasn't it?

A lot of tears have been shed on my part. But even with tears streaming down my face, you were always looking back at me, smiling from ear to ear. You are just what I need. 

The truth is, since about 3 weeks post partum, I've been battling what is known as a "post partum mood disorder" in the form of intense anxiety. And this month, it got the best of me. None of my worries are logical and it's hard to explain, but so much of it is wrapped up in breastfeeding that we have made plans to wean. It breaks my heart to tell you this. You are doing so well. It's not you (except for that latch ;)) it's me. I told myself to make it to three months, and here we are. I wish I could give you more. But I've lost the ability to be a good mother and wife because I am overcome with anxiety. I need to kick these extra hormones to the curb. At your two month check up the doctor was very happy with you. They did confirm you had a minor posterior tongue tie, but advised against clipping it. We were supposed to get your vaccinations done, but they had me administer the rotavirus (via syringe) while they stepped out of the room and you threw it all up, along with your feeding, so we immediately headed home (me in tears) to try again another time. We cancelled your appointment at the Newman Clinic - momma couldn't take anymore advice or things to work on in the breastfeeding department. We introduced one bottle into our routine in the morning because it was crazy trying to nurse you, get your grouchy brother up, and get your sister ready and to school on time. That has been a "relief bottle" for sure. Just before 3 months we did get your vaccinations done, and you weighed in at 14lbs 6oz. 

You have been having more awake time during the days and are enjoying smiling at yourself in mirrors and trying to grasp toys on your play mat. Shortly after your two month birthday you rolled over from your tummy to your back and have been doing that throughout the month. You have become quite lazy again with tummy time, especially now that you've figured out how to escape it! 

There have been a handful of weird evenings this month where you just wanted mommy. It hurt your daddy's feelings a little bit. He usually rocks you to sleep, but on these particular nights, you would scream through the bedtime routine. We weren't sure what was going on, but I decided to take you back to the bedroom and snuggled up next to you in my bed and sure enough, no nursing required, you happily fell asleep. It was so sweet. I want to remember that forever. But don't do it too often, your daddy wants some sweet time with you, too. 

Speaking of him, I'm starting to think you are 98% Dad and 2% Mom (I carried you, after all!). When I look at you - your looks, your love for sleep and snuggling, your laid-back demeanor, the ease with which you smile - I can't help but see so much of your daddy in you. I love it. I'm excited to watch your little personality develop. 

Here's to a better month! 
I love you so much it hurts, baby. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Letters to Lydia: One Month

August 4, 2012

My dearest Lydia, 

I still have a vivid memory of seeing you for the first time. As you were finishing your exit, they placed your head on the right side of my lower stomach and I remember thinking "Who is this?! She/he doesn't look like any of us!" When I picked you up to move you to my chest, I saw that you were a girl! Of course you were, I had known all along ;) Later, I was shocked to hear that you weighed 9lbs 8oz! Of course, it felt like you were that big, but I still couldn't believe it! You had no neck - just a big roll of fat. And super-long fingernails. During your first 24 hours on the outside, I don't think you opened your eyes once - very different from your big sister and big brother. We could tell you had been sucking your thumb on the inside, as you quickly found it after being born. But after we showed you the breast, you were more pleased with finding comfort and food in mommy and quickly dropped your little habit. You were definitely an overachiever in the elimination department. Your daddy was a champ changing all those sticky, black poos! And when they weighed you on your third day, sure enough, you had dropped a whopping 15oz - and immediately started looking like an Abel. We just had to get rid of all that fluid build-up first. 

Your brother and sister met you on the evening of your birthday. They were in awe. When we told them your name, Zoe confused it with Olivia, and turned it into Alydia. She called you that for the first day or so until I came up with the idea to give you a nickname in an effort to change her mind. It worked, and that's how you became our little Lydi-bug! 

Your first month was pretty normal for a newborn - you spent your days eating, sleeping, and pooping. In the eating department, you struggle with latching on properly but you are still able to get what you need. You have a characteristic "squeak" when nursing that, while at home is cute and funny, can actually be quite loud and embarrassing when we are out! :) During the first two weeks there were bouts of colic in the evenings but I tried to remind myself that your little system was just working itself out, and sure enough, the "colic" disappeared. You proved difficult to get to sleep for a while. We found what worked was giving you a pinky finger to suck on while walking the halls with our little swaddled bundle. If we tried sitting down in the rocking chair, forget it. Thank you for helping me lose some baby weight :) Once we got you to sleep, however, you were a champ at sleeping long stretches early on (thank you for that, too!) Later in the month, we realized you despised the baby swing and the bouncer and our routine of getting you to sleep proved difficult after Daddy went back to work. But, then, I found you a new swing and it worked like a charm! You started having content awake time and napping in it and mommy was actually able to accomplish things again - like feeding the rest of the family! 

There was an outpouring of love with your arrival. Even as the third child, you received so many beautiful gifts and sentiments from so many lovely friends and family members! We also received lots of delicious meals, which was very helpful this month. Your Daddy and I are so thankful for the support network we have. Among some of the visitors you've had this month are Grandma and Grandpa Abel, who met you on your first day. Grandmommy and Granddaddy, Auntie Jo, Auntie Abi (from AUS!), Uncle Graeme and Aunt Carol Wilson, Aunt Leslie, Hannah, Laura, Bethany, and Carmel to name a "few." We also celebrated your first month birthday with Uncle Daniel and Auntie Lindsay and their four, as well as Uncle Peter and Auntie Karly and the girls. 

You are loved, sweet girl, and we are so happy you're here! 

P.s. How could I forget?! You started smiling at just 3 weeks old, a major highlight for the month :)