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 :)  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letters to Lydia: Two Months

Dusting off the ol' blog to write monthly updates for Lydia. Who says the third child doesn't get much attention? I want to savor the little things and writing these letters will help me with that. I have Lydia's first month highlights, but it's not quite ready to share. So we're starting with 2 months. 

Dearest Lydia, 

Today you are two months old. It's hard to believe you're that old already but we couldn't imagine our lives without you. It's also hard to believe that my first baby girl started school today, too! You all grow up too fast! A few highlights from the last month are:

You have really started kicking! Every time I watch you I think back to how active you were on the inside. Such a little miracle you are. 

Though you started smiling at around three weeks, this month you have been very liberal with your smiles - capturing the hearts of many! Anyone who meets you comments on what a smiley baby you are. For example, when our lactation consultant came for a visit, you not only smiled, but also gave her a giggle immediately when she held you. Shortly thereafter, you also pooped while she was holding you - such manners. I guess you were feeling pretty comfortable around her. ;) And one night while the rest of the family was at Bible class, you and I had a belly laugh session that lasted a few minutes - it was adorable.

You love ceiling fans. 

Tummy time is coming along, though I think you're my laziest baby as far as this is concerned. You're getting there, though. And with the breastfeeding "olympics" we've been trying, you're getting very strong. 

In terms of sleep, you are definitely a third child. You love to sleep. You seem to fall asleep more easily when there are lights on and noise in the background. I usually take you into the living room while the older two are running around like crazy and it doesn't take long for you to drift off. At nap time I wrap you up and carry you in my arms during the hustle and bustle of getting Zoe and Colby down for naps, and you often fall asleep by the time I've sung one song! Very convenient, baby girl! Thank you :) Night time sleep has been unbelievable thus far. Over the last month, I can count on one hand the number of times you've woken up more than once a night or before 4am (after being put down around 10). Many mornings we don't see you until 5 or 5:30. Go, you! After your early morning feed, I roll you onto your tummy in our bed and you sleep soundly there for the rest of the morning, it's completely adorable. 

This month I have been conflicted over how to deal with your eating and sleeping. After meeting the lactation consultant I was told that your eating and sleeping patterns are very unusual for someone your age. You have started a slight descent on the growth charts, however, when you are awake you are the sweetest thing - alert, happy, and cute as can be. You don't cry very much either! We think you must be doing alright. As suggested though, I will try to squeeze in more feedings, but I won't push it too much. We have an appointment at the Newman center in Toronto later this month to try to figure out your latch problems/possible tongue tie?! Breastfeeding has never been easy for your momma, but you are worth the effort! 

Lastly, we took you on your first big road trip! We visited Grandmommy and Granddaddy in Mansfield for our traditional labor day weekend (shrimp boil included). You traveled like a champ and didn't skip much of a beat while we were there. You even got in your first trip to Target!

We love you, sweet Lydia!