Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dear Cora: Two Months

Dear Cora,

 Today you are 9 weeks old - 2 months yesterday. This month has been quite the rollercoaster in your tiny little life. We have had some pretty low times as you have struggled with tummy troubles and your ongoing hang-ups with falling asleep (and then staying that way). However, this month has also been absolutely full of your precious smiles. You started smiling right about when you turned one month old, and you have definitely perfected the skill in these past weeks. You also have a pretty adorable little serious face you make, with a cute furrowed brow.

  Even though you get pretty fussy and squirmy with gas when it's time to sleep, your awake times, right after you eat, are delightful. You have the sweetest smiles for your family, and you love being sung to. When you and I are having little chats and I start singing, you just beam and sometimes will coo along with me. Precious.

  This month we continued to have Mommy-Daughter Wednesdays, while big brother was at the farm with Grammie. Starting this week I'll be at work on Wednesdays, and I'll miss our days alone together. However, I am so thankful we had a full day a week for the first two months to bond with each other, and I pray that Jesus gives us decades of sweet mom/daughter time and activities.

  It has been so wonderful to watch your relationship with your big brother continue to develop this month. You smile at him when he comes to talk to you, and you turn your head to watch him run off. I have a feeling it won't be long before you're getting frustrated that you can't follow him. Since he isn't really sure how to interact with you, he frequently just puts his little hand on your thigh and says, "holdin' Cowa's leg!" He also really likes playing with your toes. He will often talk to you and then tell us, "Cowa too little talk," and he says, "bless you Cowa!" everytime you sneeze, no matter how many rooms away from each other the two of you are. When you lay on your playmat and bat at and kick at your toys he loves sitting and watching you and telling you, "great kick, Cowa!" I hope he continues to be a great encourager in your life, and I hope you grow to adore him.

  On good days, your routine at 2 months looks something like this:
7:00-7:30 - wake up & eat
8:30 - nap
9:30-10:00 - eat
11:00 - nap
12:30- eat
1:30 - nap
3:30 - eat
4:30 - nap
5:30 - eat, then sit in your swing in the kitchen while the rest of us eat
7:30 - eat, then straight to bed
10:00-10:30 - I get you up to feed you
3:00-4:00 - quick middle of the night feed (hopefully on its way out!)

  Your feedings fall somewhere close to those times generally ... maybe 70% of the time. You certainly don't nap all of the times I listed. Those are just the times you generally get tired and fussy and I try to get you to go to sleep. Usually you'll do one nap in the morning that is anywhere from 30-90 minutes, and one nap in the afternoon that is anywhere from one to two hours. The other naps are catnaps, at best; and usually once a day I opt for a "free" nap. I call them free naps because I don't have to work for them. I put you in your carseat and we go for a walk or run errands, and eventually you fall asleep.

  Nighttime sleep has improved greatly in the past month. About 75% of the time (for the past week and a half) I can nurse you to sleep around 8, and then you fall right back to sleep after your dreamfeed. Sometimes it's harder to get you down after your middle of the night feeding, but the last two nights you have eaten really quickly and fallen right back to sleep (and you've also gone 6-7 hours between feedings) so I'm hoping that this is a trend in the right direction and that in the next few weeks we can say goodbye to 4am. I know this probably isn't ideal, but you do most of your sleeping in your bouncy seat. This evening we purchased a barely used Nap Nanny for you, and we'll be giving that a shot tonight. Once you are fast asleep on your mattress you do okay, but it just takes so long to get you settled on it, that it can be pretty frustrating after middle of the night feedings. I'll opt for breaking the habit of sleeping on an incline later on in exchange for not having to hold a paci in your mouth and pat you for 30 minutes at 4 in the morning. Also, since we still aren't sure if your discomfort is coming from a dairy allergy or silent reflux, I don't think it hurts for you to be propped up a bit.

 Speaking of dairy allergy, that's one of the theories that we're currently testing. After reading my blog posts and tweets, a couple of friends mentioned that some of your tough times sound like what their babies experienced when they were reacting poorly to dairy. So, for the month of September, no dairy for mama. This is a little tough, since most of my food related vices involve dairy, but at least it's helping me lose weight! Of course more than anything, I hope it will help your tummy, but it doesn't hurt that it should help get me back in all my jeans before it gets chilly. I'm also putting aside caffeine for a couple of weeks. I rarely drink coffee, but I do consume copious amounts of sweet tea, and it finally occurred to me that the caffeine from my tea might contribute to your over-alertness. Sorry about that - let's hope it helps.

   Developmentally, this past month has definitely brought a new awareness of your toys. When I put the toy bar over your bouncy seat you'll just stare at them for awhile, but at some point it seems like you suddenly remember that they'll move if you kick and you go crazy. You'll kick fast and furiously and seem super excited for several minutes until you've had enough and then you burst into tears. You also really enjoy laying on your playmat and batting at your little orange jingly elephant. I love watching the way you study your surroundings. You seem to always be intently taking everything in.

  You have also been very busy growing. The day before you turned 2 months you weighed 11 pounds, 14 ounces, so you're probably 12 pounds by now. You still fit in some of your 0-3 month clothing, but I've started dressing you mostly in 3-6 month outfits. Gratefully, our friend Rachel loaned you a bunch of Lilly's clothing for the end of this summer, since I didn't buy you anything for warm weather in the next size up. Your brother grew so slowly and was little for so long that I just didn't expect to have such a thriving infant!

  One final note, developmentally ... you love sucking and gnawing on your little fingers. It's adorable to watch you bring them up to your mouth and try to get the ones you want in there. Sometimes you end up with one or two fingers stuck up your nose in the effort. Oh, and you've been drooling a LOT the past few days. Please do not be a super early teether ... I'd love it if you could wait until we figure out tummy comfort before we have to start worrying about your mouth.

  Finally, here are some pics of some family events from the past month:

  You did great on our train ride from Springdale to VanBuren and back. We loved getting to take you on our first adventure as a family of four!

  We also celebrated your aunt Abbie's 21st birthday with her! Your great-great uncle and aunt, Ralph and Ruth, came down for the weekend with Nana's sister, your great-aunt Violet, and they were all excited to meet you for the first time. Sadly, the few days they were here were some tough ones for you, so we didn't get around to getting any pictures with them, but hopefully next time!

  On September 1st, we had your dedication at church. It was a sweet and special time - all of the other families dedicating babies did so during the first service, but since Daddy works during the first service we had yours during the small second service. Our dear friend, Chip, was the pastor doing the dedications this time, and it was special to us to stand next to a man whose family and parenting we respect so much and pray that we will be able to follow in his footsteps as we raise you and your brother.

Nana captured this dear moment as the three of us waited for the service to start.
  You wore a dress and little sweater that had belonged to your Nana and her siblings when they were babies, and you wore your tiny pearl necklace and bracelet with the tiny crosses on them that our friends, Mrs. Sallye & Mrs. Stormi, gave you at your baby shower.

 And here are your 2 month pictures, baby girl (wearing the dress and bracelet you wore for your dedication). You are so pretty & precious!

 I love you, little one!

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