Our big girl getting bigger

Filed under: baby's progress,photos,thoughts — by Lauren on October 1st, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

Well, it’s October, which means Anya’s second birthday is fast approaching.  There’s very little baby left in her now.  She’s about 95% daytime potty trained (a subject for a different post) and her first two-year molar finally cut yesterday (rather bloodily, gross!).  The exciting news is that she is officially fully moved into her big girl room.  She’s been sleeping in there for naps and through the night since last week and she’ll tell you the nursery and crib are for Baby Sister.  It’s still a bit of a challenge to get her to fall asleep for her nap, but I’m finding some strategies that are working for the time being.  All of her things have been transferred to the new room, and it looks all put together now.  Check it out:

Izzy’s grandma made this sign for Anya when she was born:

I put together the name artwork over the dresser, which came from Lex’s and my original bedroom set.  You can also see her new Dora nightlight:

The pretty flower area rug:

Her big pink bear and rocking chair moved to her new room, of course.  The rest of her stuffed animal collection from her old room is in the storage basket:

Many of the things in her new room have been there for a long time or were gifts from when she was born/her first birthday, but these toy bins are one recent purchase we made, since she doesn’t have a bookcase or shelves.  They’re pretty empty now, but we’ll bring some toys up from the playroom soon:

Her activity table and book bins:

And, of course, she has her big girl bed!  She took her blankies, her “friends” (Ernie, Elmo, a bunny, a bear, and a monkey), and her Baby Einstein turtle aquarium with her from the nursery.  The comforter and sheets were mine from college.  The bubbles over the bed are those removable wall stickers:

The nursery looks so barren now :(  I’m sure it will look a little better once we raise the crib mattress back up again and put on the crib skirt and mobile, but it seems sad and empty to me right now.  Maybe that has something to do with the bittersweetness of Anya growing up…

I can’t feel too sad, though, because every kick in the stomach reminds me of how sooner rather than later there’s going to be another beautiful girl to fill both that room and our lives!!!  Less than 10 weeks until Baby Girl is due and my first baby becomes a big sister!

Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lex on September 26th, 2008 @ 8:16 am

My little baby girl went to sleep in her big girl bed last night.

My little baby girl, who needs rocking and shushing and pacifiers and more rocking and holding and milk and more pacifiers to go to sleep in her little crib, went to sleep in her big girl bed last night.

We didn’t sit in the rocking chair as I read her stories. Instead, she chose to lie down in her bed, just like a big girl would do. I sat at the foot of the bed and read to her as she lay there quietly listening. And when I played her songs on the CD player, we didn’t rock in the chair as she curled up into me, clinging my neck with her head nuzzled into me. She continued to lie down, and I rubbed her back. (And, okay, her tush. By her request.)

And that little baby girl of mine slept in her big girl bed all night.

She woke up once at 1:30, and I went in before she could wriggle all the way out of bed. When Sleepy Daddy’s soothing techniques didn’t work, I chose to lie down next to her until she was asleep, and then snuck out. And then that big girl of mine didn’t wake up until 6am. Not the greatest wake-up hour ever invented, but not bad for her first night in her big girl bed.

She very much earned the pompoms she was awarded this morning.

When we came downstairs, she said (as she often does these days) that she wanted to read “Sharing Day” with Daddy. I suggested we play with her Doctor Kit instead. (I’m the only parent trying to convince his kid to read LESS, since I sometimes think she reads her books too much, sacrificing pretend play time.)

“I will be the doctor! Just like at Mommy’s doctor! I will be the doctor and Daddy will be the patient! I will listen to Daddy’s HEART!”

And she did, with her toy stethoscope. But she couldn’t hear it breaking.

I’m telling you, this big girl of mine was a baby yesterday. And now she’s already too old for me to rock her to sleep.

How we told

Filed under: family,funny,moments,thoughts — by Lex on May 21st, 2008 @ 11:39 am

We’ve been more hesitant blogging about Baby #2 here than we were the first time around, but I’m vowing to change that now. The main reason for me is the health challenges that we’re facing with this pregnancy — Lauren’s colitis flare-up, the subchorionic hemorrhage, more recently a potential amniotic band. But although these are serious and important health concerns that we have to stay on top of, I’m no longer going to allow them to hamper my excitement and enthusiasm regarding #2!

We’ve spent the last week or so informing key family members about this pregnancy. First, we told Grandma Esther — but only because we thought she already knew! Grandma had been using Lauren’s laptop, and Lauren realized in a panic that she had left some pregnancy-tracking websites open. We used the same method to tell her that we ended up using with Grandpa Marty a few days later:

Lex: Y’know, we’ve been thinking about that Bahamas trip you had in mind for this December. We don’t think we’re gonna go.

In-Law: Why not?

Lex: We don’t think the baby will be old enough by that point.

In-Law: Old enough for what?! Why not?

Lex: Well, by then, it’ll only be one or two weeks old.

Hehehe. Credit goes to Lauren, because that was her idea.

Next we told Great-Grandma Evie, since we wanted to give her some happy news before she went in for her second hip surgery in three months. The funny part there was, after Lauren told her the news (and that Daddy didn’t know yet), Ev asked: “So, what are you going to do?” Lauren replied: “Um… Have the baby.”

Ev: Oh, so you’re going to keep it?

Lauren: Um. Yes?

Ev: Are you going to marry him?

Lauren: Grandma, you know this is Lauren, not Sam, right?

Grandma Evie breathes sigh of relief that actually causes a breeze straight through the telephone line.

In between Esther and Marty, we told my parents (Papa Ducky and Grammy, which sounds more like a Saturday-morning cartoon, but I digress) via video-chat. Anya was wearing her custom-made “I’m going to be a big sister!” shirt. Grammy noticed first, and jaw properly dropped, said “I like Anya’s shirt!” to make my Dad spot it too.

Last night, Anya wore the shirt to tell her Aunt Samantha, and today she wore it for Great-Grandma Shirley. G.G., as she prefers to be called, was told to read the shirt, which she did. She thought nothing of it. “Put your glasses on, Mom,” Esther suggested. “I can read it!” Shirley said. “It says, ‘I’m going to be a big sister.'” Pause. “WHAT?!?!??!?!!!?!”

Today, we have four more siblings to notify!

To my daughter Anya on the occasion of the first anniversary of her birth: A father’s scattered, rambling thoughts

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lex on October 18th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

Subtitle: I love you, and now I will say so less eloquently, with too many words.

Anya, your mom and I knew that we wanted to have children. And we even knew when we wanted to start. And honestly, we even knew that if we had a girl, we wanted to use the name Anya.

What we didn’t know was that, above all else, what we wanted was you.

You have been the perfect baby for your mom and me. If you’re reading this sometime in the future — you know, when you’re old enough to read, find this blog, and care enough about its contents to go through it — reread the previous sentence. You are perfect to and for us.

When you read through our archives, you’ll find that we had some tough times with you, as the three of us (plus Charlie!) learned to live as a family. But through it all, even when you were challenging (not wanting to eat, or not wanting to sleep, or not wanting to go to the freaking bathroom already, Q-Tips be damned) — you were perfect. We feel lucky every day to have you in our lives.

Before you were born, I wrote a song in your honor. I normally hate writing out the lyrics to my songs — I feel that the reader will miss on the poignancy and tone that my sung delivery provides, because I am a massive dork — but here’s what I wrote:

Anya’s Song

I don’t want to write a sappy song that will make you roll your eyes
I just want to write a happy tune that we’ll both know for all our lives
Don’t know that I have it in me
To write the perfect song
But if it’s about you, sweetheart,
Then how can I go wrong?

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

I sat down to write this simple song before we ever met
I said, “How can I love you so much now, when I don’t know you yet?”
I hope your life is filled with love,
And laughter, cheer, and calm
And I know you are as beautiful
As your lovely mom

As I try to write this little song, it’s pretty hard to do
I have to make sure that it conveys the love I feel for you
And Ani, if you ever feel you have the need to cry
Just please come find me, so I can sing this lullaby

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

I can see your smile
I can see your wedding day
I’ll always be your daddy
You’ll always be my baby
I’ll always be your daddy
What more can I say?

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

You may not always agree, but your dad can be pretty smart some times, Ani Boo Bani. And somehow, even before you were born, I did have a pretty keen sense of just how much I would love you.

What’s amazing to me though, and what I suspect parents never really get over, is how my capacity for loving you seems to know no bounds. On occasion, at the end of a day, I’ll think to myself: This must be it — this is the most one person can love another. My love for Anya is the maximum I can feel. And that’s a nice feeling, really.

But it’s always wrong.

Each day, I love you more. Right now, part of that comes from watching you learn and achieve new things; as you discover new talents or words or faces to show off, you become eminently more lovable. But that’s not the only reason I can love you more each day. Every day you’re here is one more day I’ve shared with you — our history together grows. Truth is, I’ve only known you for a year. Just think how much I’ll love you after two! Or ten! Or… I can count higher, but it makes me feel woozy to think about right now.

The time has flown. Your first year has been a flash. But when I try to think back to Day 1 in the hospital, or when you first met Charlie, or your first day at home… That feels like a very long time ago. I swore it would never happen, but it’s honestly hard for me to remember life with your mom before you were born. (For one thing, what the heck did we do to fill up all our time before you were born?!) I try to remember during the day how overall the time seems to fly, so that I can stop and appreciate now with you. It’s always worth it.

One last thought. One of my favorite things to do with you — and there are many — is to put you to bed at night. Originally, that was a tough transition for you. (“Sleep? Me? But there’s still some perfectly good SCREAMING I could do!!!!!”) So at first, I took pride in simply helping you along from awake to asleep. Serving as your daddy, guiding you on a confusing and anxiety-inducing segue that was for your own good, in spite of how hard it was… And watching as your eyelids drooped, your body relaxed, and you curled into one of your ridiculous cribtime contortions… I loved that.

Now, bedtime is more bittersweet for me. For one thing, you’ve become great at it. With your bedtime story, song, Elmo, and pacifier, you almost look forward to going to bed. On occasion, you reach for the crib: “Hurry up, Daddy! Skip the song and send me to sleep!” It’s overwhelming to me, the joy I feel at the progress you’ve made and how good you are at going to sleep. (Being “good” at sleep was a foreign concept to me a year ago.) But the fact that now I’m largely irrelevant to the process, because you’ve got this sleep thing pretty much nailed down, just reinforces the same thing your birthday does:

You’re growing up.

Of course, you’re only one. But that’s one year older than you were when I first met you. Recounting how you’ve changed as you grew makes me marvel… And I can’t help thinking about all the other birthdays you’ll have.

It’s one of parenting’s eternal conflicts, I guess. Your parents want you to grow up and succeed. But they want you to stay little, too.

I love you, Anya. Happy birthday. And thank you for being you — our perfect baby. My whole life, I’ll try to thank you for all the joy you bring.

I “lovey” you

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lauren on September 15th, 2007 @ 12:42 am

We’ve been trying to foster a relationship between Anya and one of her stuffed animals. The hope is that if she can find comfort in her bear she’ll stop standing up in her crib screaming for us she wakes up at 3 am. She doesn’t do that every night, but it’s been a lot more frequent in the past few weeks (since she started day care…coincidence?). We’ve been trying to rock her until she falls asleep again and lets us put her down, but many nights she ends up in our bed, and though she sleeps fairly well, I can’t say the same for us. I’m not quite sure how a munchkin like her manages to monopolize our king-size bed, but she’s very good at it.

Last night she got up and Lex went in to her to try to get her to go back to sleep. If he held her, she slept, but when he’d try to put her back in the crib she’d immediately pull herself up and start screaming again. Eventually he gave up and came back without her, saying we had to let her try to work it out herself.

She was not thrilled.

Anya stood and cried for a long time. She’d sit down, stand again, sit again. Amazingly, she managed to keep her paci in her mouth through much of this. Suddenly, after about 20 minutes she sat down, picked up her bear, and gave it a huge hug (we were watching on the video monitor, not using our x-ray vision, by the way). She held it for a bit, then leaned against one of her crib toys and fell asleep sitting up! She had the bear clutched to her chest, and at one point she sat up again and then put the bear in between her head and the toy. I think she eventually lay down, though I can’t be sure since she was standing again when she woke up at 6:30.

It was very difficult to watch her go through this last night. I still can’t stand letting Anya cry. We really don’t let her cry too often, only when nothing else seems to work. Lex was psyched that she ultimately picked up the bear and used it to comfort herself – that’s the point, I suppose – but I found it very sad to see her rocking that bear the way I rock her. I do want her to learn good sleep habits, and I do appreciate getting a full night’s sleep myself, but I felt so guilty.

Staying power

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lauren on July 8th, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Anya the last few days as her understanding of object permanence continues to develop.  We play a game where I hide an object (with her watching) and then she finds it.  I have to make sure that what I’m hiding is more interesting than what I’m hiding it with, though – she’d just as soon play with a receiving blanket or scarf as check to see what’s under it.  The other day we were playing the game on my bed and I was alternating hiding the fan remote under the blanket and under my skirt.  Well, I decided to try hiding it behind her back, but she didn’t see where I put it, and when I asked her where the remote was, she immediately checked under the blanket. Okay, so you’re probably thinking that’s no big deal, but think about it – she not only was able to understand that the remote exists even though she couldn’t see it, but she also remembered where it had been before!  That’s a pretty big accomplishment for someone who less than a year ago only had crying, sleeping, and eating in her repertoire of behaviors.  It’s really amazing how much babies learn and grow in their first year.  Imagine if we continued to develop at that pace – we’d be intellectual giants, both figuratively and literally!

Eats, Poops, and Leaves

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts,tmi — by Lex on July 4th, 2007 @ 9:04 am

As Anya learns to eat solid foods more successfully, there’s a corollary effect as well: Solid poops.

When Anya moves her bowels, it’s often now as solid as the poops you or I poop out. It’s quite a change from the breastmilk slurpees, or the formula sludge, or the breastmilk-and-formula slurpee-sludge.

This, like everything else, makes us proud.

6 months update

Filed under: baby's progress,news,photos,thoughts,video — by Lauren on April 19th, 2007 @ 9:55 pm
6 Months Old!

It’s hard to believe it, but Anya is 6 months old today! As cliché as it sounds, where has the time gone? It really feels like she just got here, but if you look back at our posts from when we first brought her home and compare what she was like then to all of the things she can do now, it’s pretty amazing that she has grown so much in such a short time.

Anya continues to explore all of the things her body can do. She loves to shake things to see what kind of noises they’ll make. Tapping is another favorite for her, and she especially loves to bang on Lex’s computer (it’s very funny; we’ll get a video up of it soon). She grabs at everything; no plate of food is safe around her. Charlie is also a prime target. The other day she grabbed his tail and pulled out a fistful of hair. To his credit, Charlie didn’t even flinch, but if he sees her reaching for him now, he runs away. We’ve had to move Anya’s infant tub into the big tub instead of the counter or the floor because she discovered the joy of kicking her feet to splash, soaking Mommy or Daddy. She can sit for several minutes unsupported, but we have to stay close by or put pillows around her because she can topple over without any warning. Jumping is big for her, too, whether it’s in her Jumperoo or just in someone’s arms.

Anya is working on becoming more mobile. She still rolls from tummy to back like a champ, and is SO close to rolling from her back to her tummy – she just needs to swing her legs the rest of the way over and she’ll have it. She’s actually showing some interest in it now and gets a little frustrated when she wants something but can’t roll to get it. Most of the time, though, she ends up distracted by her feet and stops trying to roll to play with them instead. Anya will spend a little more time on her tummy now instead of immediately rolling over, and she’s been making some attempts to crawl, but since she’s not pushing up on her hands and knees yet, her efforts are pretty fruitless. She looks like she’s trying to swim on the floor, or she’ll pull one leg up to her chest, which ultimately causes her to flip over onto her back or spin around in a circle. We’re not in any hurry for her to crawl yet – baby-proofing our house is going to be a nightmare. Maybe we should just move!

Lex and I have both marveled recently at how Anya is becoming a real person. She is much more independent – she can play by herself for at least 10 minutes, if she’s in a good mood – and she certainly expresses her opinions when she likes or doesn’t like something. We love it when she giggles in delight over something (the song “Shaky, Shaky” by the Wiggles is a favorite of hers); we’re not as huge fans of the whining that ensues when she’s less than thrilled. She loves to cuddle and touch our faces, and when she comes in for a hug or lifts her arms to be picked up, I melt. She’s starting to babble consonants – we’re hearing some m’s and b’s, but mostly she’s whispering pa pa pa. There’s also been a blowing raspberries renaissance, especially since her tongue surgery.

Nursing and diapering Anya still present unique challenges for us. Much of the time when Anya eats, it is without incident. In fact, she will often refuse to nap and wait until it’s time to nurse to take a quick snooze. It’s particularly nice when she holds my hand, or gazes into my eyes and touches my face. Some of the time, however, I could have Anya arrested for parent abuse. As I said, she loves to tap, but during nursing she goes to town smacking me repeatedly on the chest. She also has a cute little move that involves squirming left to right with her whole body while having her mouth securely attached to my breast. And let’s not forget the ever-constant battle between me and Anya’s hands, which are determined to make their way into her mouth while she nurses. We’re still having many of the same diaper struggles we were having at 5 months, although she’s added two new tricks to the arsenal – lifting up her head and shoulders (like doing a sit-up), and sticking her hands into the diaper. I hand her something before taking the diaper off to keep her busy, usually the bottle of saline nose drops, which for some reason she finds very exciting.

Ahhh, sleeping…Well, she’s been in the crib since we came back from Tucson. The first three nights were pretty rough; one of us had to stand by the crib and make physical contact with her for about three hours total each night or she screamed. On Sunday we gave up and decided to try letting her cry herself to sleep (using the popular Ferber method). It’s been very traumatic for me, but it is working. The first night she cried for more than an hour, the second for 35 minutes, the third for 25, and last night just 15. Each night she’s been waking up less and going back to sleep more quickly as well. I wouldn’t recommend this technique to anyone except as a last resort, which is where we were. On a more positive note, she’s completely swaddle-free now, courtesy of our trip to Tucson. It was just too hot to swaddle her there. (see Lex’s post below for more sleep details)

The big news of the day is that Anya tried her first solid food today. Lex was very excited to be the first person to ever feed Anya solids. We went with rice cereal, mixed with a lot of breast milk. She did a great job and seemed to really enjoy it:

It’s been a great month for Anya. We won’t know how much she has grown physically until Monday, when she has her 6 months appointment. I’m estimating she’s at 27 ½ inches, and close to 18 lbs. We’ll be sure to post an update then.

Let Me Sleep On It

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lex on @ 9:07 pm

Anya has not historically been a superb sleeper.

For a long time, Anya needed to be swaddled tightly to sleep. She didn’t “sleep through the night” by any stretch; she often requested two feedings during the night.

Eventually, at our pediatrician’s recommendation, we tried to segue away from swaddling. Anya was less enthusiastic than I was about the process. We swaddled her with two arms out (i.e., swaddled only the torso/leg region), and that didn’t really work well. After 10 or 12 days, we tried one arm out, which worked a little better. But usually, by early morning hours, she needed the full swaddle for those last few hours of sleep.

Whether she one arm out or two, Anya needed a lot of help falling asleep without the full swaddling. This generally involved holding down her various wanting-to-flail appendages. (Sometimes, this could remind me of an old Daffy Ducky cartoon. If you held down her left arm, the right would pop up. Switch to the right arm, and the left pops up. Hold down both, and up the legs would fly.) Anya required a full court press to fall asleep; any flailing appendage would quickly rouse/startle her, and she’d start to cry.

This was no good.

After much debate, as Anya neared the 6th-month mark, Lauren and I decided to try a modern, adapted version of the Ferber method. The process began this past Sunday night.

That first night, we decided we wouldn’t hold her down. We’d say goodnight and leave the room, and allow her to cry for five minutes before re-entering, reassuring her we loved her and that she was safe and that flailure was not an option… And then leave the room again. And inevitable, reset the five-minute timer as the crying restarted.

After about 90 minutes on Sunday night, Anya fell asleep. During the night, she had several rough spots that were (of course!) rough on us as well — just waking up, reminding your brain how to work a timer, and understanding how one must move his legs to maneuver from our room to Anya’s takes considerably effort at 3am.

And it goes without saying that listening to your precious baby cry without rushing to comfort her is mentally, emotionally, and aurally challenging for any loving parent. So I won’t say it.

The first night was tough, but Anya did eventually fall asleep, and she got a decent amount of sleep during the night. And she went from about 11pm to about 6am without nursing.

The second night, we upped the timer to 10 minutes. Anya fell asleep in 45 minutes or so, and slept a little better overall. There were still several bleary-eyed crying bouts during the night, and Anya actually convinced her sleep parents to feed her even earlier than the day before. But on the whole, it was an improvement from the first night.

Since then, we’ve been upping the time before we go in to console her when she’s crying, and we actually increase the intervals during the night — she starts at 20 minutes tonight, and then it’ll be 25 minutes after that.

Last night, she fell asleep in about 20 minutes, awoke once during the night, and didn’t need any consolation — falling asleep on her own within about 8 minutes. And she went from 11pm to 7am before nursing.

We were pleasantly amazed with last night’s progress. You hope and hope and hope when you attempt something like this that it’s going to work. The only thing more guilt-inducing than letting your baby cry, is letting her cry and then having the sleep training not work. But things are definitely improving.

Lauren is not a fan of this process at all. She agrees that it’s working, but wishes it hadn’t come to this — that we had been able to train her to have good sleeping habits some other way. For the most part, I agree with Lauren. But what’s reassuring to me is the fact that each morning, Anya greets us with big smiles, and she is her happy laughing self all day long.

It’s not true, but I like to tell myself she’s thanking us for helping her to master sleep instead of “babying” her in that department. Lauren, on the other hand, thinks Anya is trying to woo us with cooing so that we won’t send her to the Crib-Time Torture Chamber again. 😉

Crib notes #2

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lauren on April 12th, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

Big night tonight. Anya is going to spend her first night in her crib in her very own room. It was a little difficult to get her to go to sleep, but to be fair, her inner clock is all messed up from having been in a different time zone the past 10 days and from getting about half as much sleep last night as usual due to coming back to NJ on a red-eye flight.

I think this is going to be much more difficult for me than for her. I’m not ready for her to move out of our room. Part of it comes from not wanting to have to actually get out of bed when she wakes up at night. It was very convenient to reach over to her in the Co-Sleeper and either soothe her back to sleep or pick her up to feed her. She’s still not sleeping through the night, and I can’t imagine why putting her in her own room would magically make her sleep longer. Part of me worries, too, that she’ll be frightened when she wakes up and is all alone, although I know that with time she will get used to that, and in fact NEEDS to learn how to handle being alone eventually. However, a bigger part of my reluctance comes from feeling sad about her not sleeping right next to me anymore. I love have Anya near me. I love the sound of her breathing, watching her dreaming, and just knowing she’s so close by. I’m sure it sounds crazy, but I am going to miss her, even though she’s just across the hall. I feel like she’s already growing up, and she’s still such a little baby. We always blog about how big she is, but in the crib she looks tiny to me.  I’m not ready for her to grow up yet.
Despite my feelings, I sincerely hope tonight goes smoothly. We’ll update soon.

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